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Professor named to new endowed chair in Decker

Pamela Stewart Fahs has accepted an appointment to the Decker Chair in Rural Health effective Feb. 22, Joyce Ferrario, dean of the Decker School of Nursing, announced.

“Pam has been steadfast in developing the rural focus of our programs and bringing our school to national recognition for our efforts,” Ferrario said.

Fahs, who had been associate professor and director of the O’Connor Office of Rural Health Studies, holds a doctor of science in nursing degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a master’s degree from Decker and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky. She joined Binghamton’s faculty in 1985 as a lecturer.

Fahs, who grew up in southeast Kentucky, has worked at hospitals in Kentucky and Greater Binghamton. She also served in the Kentucky National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves.

Her research interests include women’s health and rural health issues, cardiovascular disease prevention in rural women, stroke education among rural populations, women’s cardiovascular risk factors and stroke. She’s now principal investigator for a three-year study of how best to promote heart health in rural women.

“In her role as Decker Chair, Fahs will advance the school’s commitment to rural nursing research into the health needs of rural people and the testing of appropriate intervention strategies in rural communities,” Ferrario said. “Further she will assist faculty and students with research and teaching in rural health.”

The Dr. G. Clifford and Florence B. Decker Foundation, which has a history of strong support for Binghamton’s nursing school, provided $1 million to establish the endowed chair.

Previous donations include a $1 million grant to establish the Decker Chair in Community Health Nursing as well as the 1989 establishment of a $1 million endowment for the school.

The vision for the endowed chair in rural nursing includes research, grants work, consultation, teaching and faculty development as well as work on rural nursing practice and creating new resources related to rural nursing care.

Fahs said she expects the Decker school will continue to influence health issues in rural areas, including parts of the Southern Tier. She hopes to get the school more involved with theory development in rural nursing, a young field in which several faculty members can be leaders.

“I think this is an opportunity to move Decker forward in the area of rural nursing and rural health,” she said. “We’re the only doctoral program in rural nursing in the country, and I think we need to let nurses who care for that population know more about the research and study in rural health we are doing here at the Decker School of Nursing and how that work can help them improve the health of their clients.”

Fahs would also like to offer that program online to serve more rural nurses who want advanced education.

Fahs, who will be speaking at an upcoming Cornell University conference and at a Society for Clinical Research Associates program on campus in May, is also editing a monograph with Lindsay Lake Morgan, an assistant professor in the Decker school. The work, titled “Conversations in the Discipline: Sustaining Rural Populations,” is drawn from a 2004 Decker school conference and will be useful for academics and health-care providers alike.

Fahs will continue teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, primarily in research and theory.

She and her husband, Jim, live in Endwell with their two children, Laura and Alex.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08