Fulbright Winner Aims to Remove Barriers to Quality Healthcare in Bangladesh

With much debate regarding healthcare systems worldwide, John J. Ringhisen, RN, a graduate of Pace University’s Lienhard School of Nursing, will study cultural and social barriers that prevent access to primary health care as a recipient of a 2010-2011 Fulbright Research Grant to South and Central Asia, Bangladesh.

PACE UNIVERSITY FULBRIGHT WINNER AIMS TO REMOVE BARRIERS TO QUALITY HEALTHCARE IN BANGLADESH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Cara Cea, 914-773-3312 or ccea@pace.edu;
Sharon Lewis, 914-773-3973 or slewis2@pace.edu

PACE UNIVERSITY FULBRIGHT WINNER AIMS TO REMOVE BARRIERS TO QUALITY HEALTHCARE IN BANGLADESH

PLEASANTVILLE, NY, April 28, 2010 – With much debate regarding healthcare systems worldwide, John J. Ringhisen, RN, a graduate of Pace University’s Lienhard School of Nursing, will study cultural and social barriers that prevent access to primary health care as a recipient of a 2010-2011 Fulbright Research Grant to South and Central Asia, Bangladesh.

Ringhisen will volunteer his services in Dhaka, Bangladesh for nine months beginning in August, as a registered nurse/participant observer in local primary health care centers and the communities they serve. In this role, Ringhisen will interview community and public health officials to collect their opinions on what prevents their target groups from participating.

Ringhisen hopes to bring back some important lessons that can be applied to our healthcare system in the U.S. “Accessibility to healthcare is critical. More attention needs to be paid to rural and isolated populations. Instead of a healthcare clinic spending money on new equipment, perhaps door-to-door van service can be provided so families without any means of transportation can get the medical attention they need. I would advocate securing a grant to provide a ‘clinic on wheels’ that would come into the rural communities to help with basic healthcare needs such as vaccinations and wellness exams to avoid the potentially long travel time to healthcare facilities. There are existing programs that focus on specialties such as Outreach Mobile Eye Clinics (OMEC) out of Australia. Even more important, however, is to create a system of hard site clinics as logistical support hubs so that these mobile clinics can stay in the field longer, probe deeper into remote areas, and offer more emergent care if needed.”

The Wichita, KS native graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1999 with a bachelor of science degree in physics and minor in electrical engineering. Upon graduation, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s Finance Corps. John served in Seoul, South Korea and supported operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq until his honorable discharge in 2003.

After working as an office manager and comptroller for several small businesses and a private dental practice, John realized his future in healthcare through Pace University’s Lienhard School of Nursing Combined Degree Program (CDP). In 2008 John was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Scholar. He graduated in December 2009 with a bachelor of science degree in Nursing and received his New York State Registered Professional Nursing License in March 2010.

Ringhisen interacted with patients from diverse backgrounds while working in the emergency room at Westchester Medical Center and with the Visiting Nurse Association of the Hudson Valley.

“John tells us he was inspired by the classes he took in the CDP, particularly those that focused on cultural competency in nursing,” said Lienhard dean Harriet R. Feldman, PhD, RN, FAAN. “He was able to apply what he was learning about cultural competence in the classroom in a hands-on, practical way and wondered how other countries fared with their healthcare systems, especially those in the developing world.“

Ringhisen is learning Bengali and Hindi in preparation for his departure to Bangladesh. He also speaks intermediate Spanish and Arabic, and beginner Hangul (Korean).

Martha Greenberg, PhD, R.N., Associate Professor and Chairperson Undergraduate Nursing Studies, said, “From the first day of meeting him, John stood out as a leader among this peers. John is a decorated Veteran of the United States military. He is articulate, well read, a nursing scholar, kind and compassionate to his peers and colleagues, and a leader. He has a proven track record of adapting to different cultural environments having served in Iraq. Finally, he is committed to working with underserved people to improve their health and be a change agent not only abroad but locally, nationally and globally.”

According to Dr. Lillie M. Shortridge-Baggett, EdD, RN, FAAN “John is Lienhard School of Nursing’s second Fulbright scholar; our first is Patty Sayre, and both are exceptional students. We are very proud of their success.”

Ringhisen is married to the former Melissa Grider of Lombard, IL, a Major and a full time professor and scholarship advisor with the Department of Social Sciences at West Point. Ringhisen says, “She has two Rhodes Scholars, one East-West, two Truman Scholars, nine Rotary, and two National Science Foundation Scholars to mentor and assist with their own overseas studies. The joke in the house right now is whether or not she gets to ‘claim’ me as her one Fulbright Scholar since she helped with my application process.” The couple has two sons, John Patrick age 7 and Trevor Alfred age 3. While Ringhisen is in Bangladesh, his family will remain in the U.S., staying at West Point with an extensive support system.

About the Fulbright Program: The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the US and the people of other countries. The Fulbright program provides participants – chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

About Pace University: For 104 years Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

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