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Eight U of U College of Nursing Faculty and Alumni Named American Academy of Nursing Fellows

AAN Group
Three professors, two adjunct faculty, and three alumni of the University of Utah College of Nursing have been recognized as American Academy of Nursing Fellows.

Three professors, two adjunct faculty, and three alumni of the University of Utah College of Nursing were inducted as American Academy of Nursing (AAN) Fellows in an October 9th ceremony in Washington, D.C. They are among 225 distinguished nurse leaders in the 2021 class of Fellows recognized for their significant contributions to health and health care.

“I am so proud that our faculty and alumni have been honored with this distinction that recognizes both their substantive and sustained contributions to the profession of nursing, and their commitment to continue work to transform America’s health system,” says Marla De Jong, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the College of Nursing, who was inducted as an AAN Fellow in 2012. 

“Having our faculty members and three alumni inducted into the Academy demonstrates the caliber of the College of Nursing and is testimony to its excellence, and striking contributions to and impact on the profession and health care,” she says.

The new Fellows were selected through a rigorous and competitive application process, which included a review by a committee of current Fellows. Induction into the Academy is a “significant milestone in a nurse leader’s career, in which their accomplishments are honored by their colleagues within and outside the profession,” according to AAN president Eileen Sullivan-Marx, Ph.D. R.N.

The new Fellows represent 38 states, the District of Columbia, and 17 countries. The Utah inductees include:

Linda Edelman, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing

Linda Edelman, Ph.D.
Linda Edelman, Ph.D.

Edelman leads the Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence and directs the Utah Geriatric Education Consortium. She has forged academic and clinical partnerships to implement distance-based programs to ensure age-friendly care regardless of geographic location, including Project ECHO, an online nurse residency, and interprofessional education courses for health professions students. She is an investigator on studies ranging from palliative care telehealth to improving nursing home resident communication of care preferences

She also leads an education initiative to enhance primary care in rural and underserved areas of Utah by integrating primary care digital badges into the undergraduate curriculum and supporting rural primary care nurses working to the top of their license to instruct students. 

A Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, Edelman received her BSN and Ph.D. from the University of Utah College of Nursing.

Lauri Linder, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing

Lauri Linder, Ph.D.
Lauri Linder, Ph.D.

Linder’s contributions as a nurse scientist have advanced symptom management and supportive care for children, adolescents, and young adults (AYA) with cancer. As a tenured faculty member with a joint clinical appointment at Primary Children’s Hospital, her research is driven by questions and challenges arising from the practice setting. Central to her interprofessional, multi-site research is the development of unique patient-centered mobile technology to represent the child or AYA’s individual symptom experience.

Her work focuses on the developmental characteristics of children and young adults who are comfortable with digital technology, yet often have difficulty initiating verbal reports of symptoms, whether to parents or clinicians. She is the co-editor of the first textbook dedicated to pediatric oncology nursing research, Pediatric Oncology Nursing: Defining Care Through Science.

Linder received her BSN, MS, and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Utah College of Nursing.

Michelle Litchman, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing

Michelle Litchman, Ph.D.
Michelle Litchman, Ph.D.

Litchman is nurse practitioner at the Utah Diabetes and Endocrinology Center and medical director of the Intensive Diabetes Education and Support Program. She is a recognized expert in diabetes care and clinical innovation. She has contributed to the development of national policy and practice initiatives to improve interdisciplinary diabetes care. She influences diabetes and behavioral researchers, health care providers, policymakers, and the general public through publications and national and international presentations.

Her legislative advocacy has resulted in policy changes, improving access to care. These efforts include testifying in the Utah Legislature on behalf of a bill—ultimately approved—that makes it easier for the state’s estimated 200,000 people living with diabetes to access insulin.

Litchman received her BSN from Weber State University and her MSN and Ph.D. from the University of Utah. She is a Betty Irene Moore Nurse Fellow and was a Jonas Scholar.

In addition, adjunct instructor Lee Moss, M.S., and adjunct assistant professor Perry Gee, Ph.D., R.N., were selected as 2021 AAN Fellows. U of U College of Nursing alumni named Fellows were:

  • Emma Kurnat-Thoma, Ph.D., a nurse scientist and adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies.
  • Virginia LeBaron, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing
  • Susan VanBeuge, DNP, an associate professor in residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Nursing. 


University of Utah Health provides leading-edge and compassionate care for a referral area that encompasses Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, western Colorado, and much of Nevada. A hub for health sciences research and education in the region, U of U Health touts a $408 million research enterprise and trains the majority of Utah’s physicians and health care providers at its Colleges of Health, Nursing, and Pharmacy and Schools of Dentistry and Medicine. With more than 20,000 employees, the system includes 12 community clinics and five hospitals. U of U Health is recognized nationally as a transformative health care system and regionally as a provider of world-class care.