Two Faculty Among 2016 AAN Fellows

Professor Kris Kwekkeboom (left) and Clinical Professor Karen Solheim (right)

Two University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing faculty members are among the 164 highly distinguished nurse leaders named to the 2016 American Academy of Nursing fellows class. Dr. Kristine Kwekkeboom researches non-drug therapies to relieve symptoms in cancer patients and serves as the faculty director of the nursing PhD program. Dr. Karen Solheim is an expert in global health who also is leading a sweeping curriculum redesign. Both will be honored at a ceremony during the Academy’s annual policy conference, Transforming Health, Driving Policy, which will take place October 20-22, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Kwekkeboom’s work focuses on strategies that nurses can use to help cancer patients manage or minimize pain and related symptoms. She notes that this aspect of complementary medicine has grown in the past two decades, and health teams are increasingly incorporating non-drug strategies to help patients cope with symptoms. Kwekkeboom says she is honored by her selection into the academy fellowship, which she sees as “recognition of the importance of palliative care and the contribution of nurses to this important work.”

Solheim, who has been practicing nursing since 1973, joined the UW–Madison School of Nursing clinical faculty in 2007 and has served as the director of the undergraduate program since 2015. She was instrumental in founding the School of Nursing’s undergraduate immersion clinical programs in Malawi and Thailand, and has been the UW–Madison director of global health initiatives since 2014.

In her fellowship application, Solheim highlighted her dedication to and experience in global health. “We live in a very interconnected world, and we are always impacted by global issues and global health issues,” she said. “Whether it’s the Zika virus or Syrian refugees seeking asylum in the United States, it affects us. As healthcare providers, we can’t do our work without considering these things.”

The Academy is currently comprised of more than 2,400 nurse leaders in education, management, practice, policy, and research. Academy fellows include hospital and government administrators, college deans, and renowned scientific researchers.

Fellow selection criteria include evidence of significant contributions to nursing and health care and sponsorship by two current Academy fellows. Applicants are reviewed by a panel comprised of elected and appointed fellows, and selection is based, in part, on the extent the nominee’s nursing career has influenced health policies and the health and wellbeing of all. New fellows will be eligible to use the FAAN credential (fellow of the American Academy of Nursing) after the induction ceremony takes place in October.

“I am delighted to welcome this superb cohort of talented clinicians, researchers, policy leaders, educators and executives as they join the ranks of the nation’s leading nursing and health care thought leaders,” said Academy President, Bobbie Berkowitz, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments at our conference, and then working with them to advance the Academy’s mission of transforming health policy and practice by applying our collective nursing knowledge.”

For more information about the American Academy of Nursing and the 2016 policy conference, visit