Each of these nurses is poised to become an exemplary nurse leader who will transform health care in communities and nationwide, help build a Culture of Health, and inspire the next generation of nurses.

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Katherine Bernier
2016 cohort, University of Connecticut

Katherine Bernier, BSN, RN, a Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholar, is interested in exploring the transition from acute pain to chronic pain in the pediatric population and the associated biobehavioral outcomes. She also aims to examine the role of nurses in providing care to patients experiencing this change. Bernier is passionate about understanding the impact of pain on the daily lives of children and adolescents with chronic illness as well as identifying innovative ways to care for this population.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Health Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Rochester.

Bernier’s nursing career began as a staff nurse in a pediatric intensive care unit at Albany Medical Center. Currently she works as a clinical nurse at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, CT, where she cares for children on an inpatient medical-surgical unit that specializes in hematology and oncology.

Bernier lives in Manchester, CT.

A headshot of Desiree R. Bertrand
Desiree Bertrand
2014 cohort, Medical University of South Carolina

Desiree R. Bertrand, MSN, RN, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of the Virgin Islands. Her research interests are women's health, health disparities and intimate partner violence.

She earned a Bachelor of Nursing from the University on the Virgin Islands and a Master of Science in Nursing Education from Midwestern State University.

Bertrand also has a joint appointment with the Caribbean Exploratory Research Center, University of the Virgin Islands, School of Nursing, where she is Co-Principal Investigator on a major study: An Integrated Risk Reduction Intervention for Abused African Caribbean and African American women in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Other work experience includes: Research coordinator at Caribbean Exploratory Research Center, University of the Virgin Islands, Veteran of the U.S. Air Force and served as a commissioned officer and a registered nurse for four years at the Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas, Travel nurse, Fastaff Travel Nursing Agency, Staff nurse at the St. Thomas Hospital, St. Thomas, USVI, Home Health Nurse, Sea View Health Care Services, Inc. St. Croix, USVI.

Bertrand lives in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Jamie Besel
2018 cohort, University of Arizona

Jamie Besel, MN, RN is researching issues related to elderly rural Montanans with chronic illness: self-management, quality of life, and access to quality and equitable health care. Besel plans to study the role and application of technology as it relates to self-management and quality of life in underserved rural populations. She hopes to further transformational change in nursing and health care with culturally sensitive, novel technological interventions in rural areas.

She graduated with both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master in Nursing from Montana State University College of Nursing.

Besel has worked at level one trauma centers in a variety of settings including intensive care units, medical-surgical, nurse educator, and preceptor. She currently works as a Clinical Instructor at Montana State University Bozeman College of Nursing.

Besel lives in Billings, Montana.

Irene Bick
2015 cohort, Columbia University

Irene Bick, MBA, BA, BS, RN, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, is interested in studying the holistic health needs of older adults with chronic age related conditions as they approach the last phase of life. She would like to research and compare the cost and quality of current and emerging end-of-life care models based on the attributes deemed important to older adults.

Bick earned her Bachelor of Arts in Government from Smith College, her Master of Business Administration in Management from Wharton Graduate/University of Pennsylvania, and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Columbia University.

Bick currently works at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, NY, as a staff nurse on the Hematology/Oncology unit. Before entering nursing, Bick worked in marketing and product development. She worked for several Fortune 100 companies, including MetLife in New York, NY, where her experience included leading cross-functional teams through market assessments, new product development and pilot launches.

Bick lives in Bronxville, NY.