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The Lauder Fellows: Meet the First Ten

Penn Nursing is excited to announce the inaugural cohort of the Leonard A. Lauder Community Care Nurse Practitioner Program, comprised of ten Fellows from across the country who will begin full-time studies towards a nurse practitioner degree. They are the first-ever students in a pioneering, tuition-free program dedicated to building a nurse practitioner workforce committed to working in and with underserved communities, both rural and urban.

“With the first of the Leonard A. Lauder program Fellows joining us at Penn Nursing, we begin the work of preparing these excellent nurses to be leaders in providing care in under-resourced communities,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia Villarruel. “The impact this program will have in communities that face barriers to care cannot be overstated—and all of us at Penn Nursing are grateful to Leonard A. Lauder for his vision and commitment to improving health and health care in areas where it is most needed.”

The Leonard A. Lauder program at Penn Nursing is a two-year, rigorous Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program. It was borne of a $125 million gift—the largest ever to an American nursing school—by Penn alumnus Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies.

“The first class of Fellows are models for all those who will follow: talented healthcare professionals who are deeply committed to further developing their skills, and then sharing those skills in the American communities that need them most,” said Lauder. “I offer my sincere congratulations to this fine group of individuals who will pave the way for the ensuing years of the program, and—most importantly—make a tangible difference in the lives of our fellow Americans.”

Each Fellow will complete at least 50 percent of their clinical education at community partner sites and/or comparable sites that provide direct patient care, an invaluable experience that will prepare Fellows to meet the complex needs of patients and families throughout their careers. Every Fellow will be expected to commit to practice or service in an underserved community for two years after graduation.

The first ten Fellows come from a variety of backgrounds and share a commitment to using this unique opportunity to further their education and clinical experience to help solve the challenges they see in their chosen field.

Gabrielle Domingo, BSN, RN
La Mirada, CA

“Working in a hospital that is integrated into the Philadelphia community showed me how so many individuals fall through the cracks of a broken health care system, especially when they are from underserved communities. I hope to be a practitioner who is attuned to the multiple determinants that affect individuals’ health, and to practice with patience.”

Rebecca Hosey, MPH, BSN, RN
Philadelphia, PA

“I believe that some of the biggest challenges in my field are the lack of access to care; there are so many organizations working hard in Philadelphia to improve access to care to the most vulnerable folks, but I believe that improved communication amongst organizations, stakeholders, policymakers, and payers would allow for better continuity of care. Lack of communication or competing interests seems to create difficulty in the bottom line: providing high-quality, compassionate care to all.”

Erica Iglesias, BSN, RN
Livermore, CA

“I believe the biggest challenges in underserved communities are access to quality care and the stigma surrounding mental health. While traveling across the country as a psychiatric registered nurse, I recognized a massive need to address these issues in underserved populations.”

Sandya Janardhan, BSN, RN
Novi, MI

“During my BSN education, I cared for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. While this experience was notably heartbreaking, it also fueled my inner passion for caring for this underserved population. Likewise, while working in ICUs as an RN, I supported many veterans, contributing further to my love for becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner for veterans. And growing up in metropolitan Detroit, I learned about the impact nurse practitioners have on the extensive homeless population. For these reasons, I have always been interested in caring for various underserved people and communities.”

Aleksandr Kasyanchuk, BSN, RN, OCN
Roncho Cordova, CA

“I believe our cultural views surrounding health care are the biggest challenge we are facing at the present moment. The way we as a society commodify health care and determine who ’deserves’ health care, as well as our cognitive dissonance surrounding whether health care is a right or privilege, has a tremendously negative effect on both affordability and access. When efficiency and profits are prioritized above good, accessible, and comprehensive care, the fallout impacts everyone.”

Ethan Murdock, BSN, RN
Duxbury, MA

“The biggest challenges in improving primary care in underserved communities are the current scarcity of resources and a lack of adequate access. To help rectify the health care disparities that exist in underserved communities we must start by improving the access individuals have to care, and by bringing more resources to the communities that need them the most.”

Julie Nguyen, BSN, RN
Parker, CO

“I believe the biggest challenge to my field would be the accessibility to mental health resources: cost, insurance, and transportation, mainly. One of my goals as a future PMHNP is to start researching culturally appropriate resources for populations of color, which has been an ongoing problem in the mental health field.”

Lauren Odegaard, BSN, RN, Former Captain, Army Nurse Corps
Newport, RI

“I think the greatest challenges in my field are access to care and health education. Without these crucial elements, patients are prevented from understanding or addressing their health care needs and are often unable to advocate for themselves properly. As a Lauder Fellow, I am grateful that I will receive specific education and training on how to best care for underserved populations in order to approach these challenges.”

Azucena Villalobos, BSN, RN
Lompoc, CA

“There are many challenges in the health care and nursing fields, and Covid-19 demonstrated the prevalence of these challenges by highlighting the structural inequalities that exist in the U.S. Low-income and minority communities have been disproportionately affected by Covid in various ways, from lack of access to care, health insurance, or testing, to limited availability of resources for kids in schools. However, these social and health inequities are not new.”

Carly Wasserbach, BSN, RN
Jackson, WY

“With my experience working in Utilization Management, I have seen just how much insurance manages and dictates the care within our health system. It’s hard to see people not receive medically necessary care simply because their insurance won’t cover it. On top of that, the cost of healthcare within our country is the highest in the world—this current delivery model is not sustainable and, quite frankly, does not promote a healthy population.”