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Dr. Debbie Persell is first graduate of Homeland Security Nursing program

June 12, 2008 -- Dr. Debbie Persell, associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, recently became the first graduate of the new Homeland Security Nursing program at the University of Tennessee in KnDr. Elizabeth Young, left, Dr. Debbie Persell, center, and Dr. Susan Speraw, right, gather after Persell's graduation from the new Homeland Security Nursing program at UT-Knoxville.oxville. She received her doctorate in May and is the only one of three doctoral graduates from the program with the homeland security concentration.

The innovative program is the only nursing curriculum in the nation which addresses disaster response training and was initiated to prepare nurse leaders, managers and clinical nursing specialists to organize a response agenda to disasters
which involve mass casualties.

Dr. Persell views the academic program as global in nature, and she presented at conferences in Amsterdam and Japan involving concept development on standardized nursing language and disaster education.

After entering the program in its first year in 2005, the New Orleans area was struck by Hurricane Katrina. The devastation left a lasting impression on Dr. Persell, and she based her dissertation on disaster response by faith-based groups in New Orleans.

“As part of the research process, I volunteered with a faith-based disaster response team and then interviewed residents of New Orleans, staff and administrators, as well as volunteers with the faith-based organization,” said Dr. Persell.

Dr. Persell is the coordinator for the disaster life support regional training center and teaches courses in homeland security and emergency management at ASU.




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