Mennonite College of Nursing received funds from the Marion McDowell Stafford Charitable Trust Grant in 2002. Stafford was from Central Illinois and had an interest in educational programs benefiting children, youth, and families, as well as education and initiatives that fight disease or infirmity.

Since 2003, students and faculty have benefited from the Marion McDowell Stafford Lectureship Series in Child and Family Health. Presenters have lectured on topics including birthing options in the 21st century and improving sleep health.

Mennonite faculty Dr. Yvette Pigman, M.S. ’14, Ph.D. ’16, and Dr. Susana Calderon partnered with former instructional assistant professor Sue Grant ’95, M.S. 17, to present on oral health research and initiatives.

Calderon, an assistant professor of nursing, conducted a study that focuses on children’s oral health. She examined early behavioral intervention using social media and dietary knowledge to reduce the risk for dental caries and obesity. She is recognized for her research on factors influencing children’s oral health behavior and the role in overall health to prevent systematic inflammation and chronic diseases. 

Not only does the lectureship series provide a forum for educating future nurses on important topics, but current registered nurses earn additional accreditation hours when they attend.

Thanks to support from the Marion McDowell Stafford Charitable Trust Grant, Mennonite students and nursing professionals will continue to benefit from engaging lectures and opportunities for continued education.