Dedicated to fostering the scientific and professional growth of nurses in human genetics and genomics worldwide.
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2020: Year of the Nurse & Midwife

The World Health Organization has designated the year 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in honor of the 200th birthday of British nurse, statistician, and social reformer, Florence Nightingale. In support of this campaign and a celebration of nurses and midwives worldwide, the ISONG Global Membership Committee will be featuring monthly interviews with various members of our community.

Erika Maria Monteiro Santos

Erika’s entire career has been spent in oncology and genomics, first working in a chemotherapy center before transferring to clinical research. Erika continues her work in genomics as an advanced practice nurse in the Genomic Medicine Service division of Hospital Beneficencia Portuguesa de Sao Paulo. The hospital has more than 1000 beds, and the oncology area is integrated with genomic medicine. In her daily work, she offers genetic counseling services, discusses test results with the clinical oncology team, and serves as a reference for clinical nurse specialists in matters related to genetics and genomics care. In addition to this work, she coordinates an oncology nursing course at a private university in Brazil. Her educational background to support this work includes a degree in Nursing (1998), Master of Science (2003), and a PhD (2008).

Click here to read the entire interview.

Becky Kronk

Becky Kronk, PhD, MSN, CRNP, FAAN, CNE, ANEF, is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Nursing at Duquesne University. With experience in bedside nursing, home health care, staff development, nursing education, and as a nurse practitioner, Becky brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her current role as an administrator, faculty member, and researcher at Duquesne. Becky credits her work as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at the Child Development Unit of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh as her first passionate introduction to genetics. In caring for families and children with developmental disabilities, she witnessed the outcomes associated with genetic conditions firsthand. As part of her work, she even helped to establish the first nurse-led interdisciplinary Fragile X Center in Pittsburgh. Becky carried that experience into her research career and has conducted several studies on the sleep patterns of children with Fragile X syndrome and developmental functioning of children in relation to the “gray zone” alleles.

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Anndra Dumo

Anndra Dumo, MSc, MA, BSN, RN, RM, has a lifelong passion to care for others that has brought her to an incredibly unique and global career in nursing. Anndra has hands-on experience as a clinical nursing instructor in the Philippines, ER nurse and infection control practitioner in Saudi Arabia (to help control MERS-CoV, a respiratory virus not unlike COVID-19), and most recently, a PhD student at the University of Eastern Finland. Anndra first became interested in genetics when, as a clinical instructor, she and her students observed different responses to treatment regimens among cancer patients. She has carried this curiosity with her throughout her career and, upon her arrival to Finland, completed a course in cancer genomics. This course further sparked her interest in genomics and became the center of her PhD dissertation project, which is to develop a web-based nursing education program teaching genetics and genomics to nursing students.

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Hudson Santos

Hudson Santos, PhD, RN, grew up in Brazil, where his journey into nursing started early in life. Not only was his mother an LPN, but his uncle was the director of a hospital, so Hudson spent a substantial amount of time in healthcare settings. Hudson says, “When my mother didn’t have someone to watch me, I would go to her work with her. I learned to dream about being a nurse then.” In nursing school, Hudson received a scholarship to work on a research project with one of his professors and knew right away that he had found his calling. He worked clinically for a time, but ultimately went back to school to earn his PhD at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Hudson has experience as a visiting scholar at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, as well as postdoctoral training from Duke University. He is now a tenure-track Assistant Professor at UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing.

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Kelley Baumgartel

With August being National Breastfeeding Month, we would like to highlight ISONG member Kelley Baumgartel, PhD, RN. Kelley is an Assistant Professor at Duquesne University School of Nursing where she not only has an active program of research but also teaches genetics to the undergraduate nursing students. She is the founder/president of the first non-profit human milk and data repository, the Human Milk Science Institute and Biobank. The objective of the biobank is to provide human milk samples, maternal saliva, and associated data to scientists in a variety of fields (

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Gigi Lim

Dr. Gigi Lim is a senior lecturer and mid-career researcher in the School of Nursing at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Gigi holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Midwifery, a postgraduate diploma in education, a Master’s degree in Health Sciences, a Graduate Diploma in Sciences (major in Pharmacology), and a PhD in Nursing. Her extensive nursing portfolio includes experience in surgical, medical, pediatric and neonatal nursing, public and mental health, spinal cord injury and rehabilitation, and cardiac nursing. Gigi has nursed in the Philippines, United States, and Auckland. 

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John Merriman

Dr. John Merriman is currently in his third year as an Assistant Professor at New York University Meyers College of Nursing. Although now a talented nurse scientist, nursing is a second career for John. His first degree is in communications with minors in theater and music. After completing his first degree, John felt that he would still like to pursue some long-held interests. John says: I always enjoyed my science classes in school and was looking for a way to integrate my interest in communication with science and health.” John eventually decided that nursing was the perfect way to bridge his interests and enrolled in the Masters Entry Program in Nursing at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). After completing his nursing degree, John worked on a hematology-oncology unit where he provided supportive care to patients before and after intensive chemotherapy treatments. His work in oncology led him to complete an oncology clinical nurse specialist program at UCSF. During his masters program, John was exposed to cancer genetics and how genetic variations could influence cancer-related symptoms. These clinical experiences influenced his decision to once again return to school to obtain his PhD in nursing.

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Jeanne Murphy

Dr. Jeanne Murphy is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and Assistant Professor of Nursing at George Washington University. Jeanne has been a practicing nurse-midwife for over 25 years. After 15 years of full time experience, she started teaching in a nursing program, and realized that she wanted to expand into nursing education and research. At that point she earned her PhD and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

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Emma Tonkin

Dr. Emma Tonkin is an Associate Professor in Genomic Healthcare at the University of South Wales. In addition to her involvement in ISONG, Emma is also a founding member of the Global Genomics Nursing Alliance (G2NA). Early in her career, Emma worked as a research scientist in human genetics focused on molecular biology, gene mapping, and identification. With her group at Newcastle University, she identified the first gene associated with Cornelia de Lange syndrome. Emma also worked with the UK Cornelia de Lange patient group helping families understand the potential implications related to the identification of genes associated with the syndrome. Of her work with patients, Emma says, “I heard time and time again from parents about the challenges they faced in getting a diagnosis or accessing knowledgeable care for their child because the condition is so rare.” Her experience with the patient group led Emma to switch gears to focus on genetic and genomic education. In 2005, she joined the Genomics Policy Unit at the University of South Wales.

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Katie Edwards

Dr. Katie Edwards is a Registered Nurse and Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Nursing Research and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine. Prior to nursing school, Katie completed a degree in biology and volunteered her time working with patients rehabilitating from traumatic injuries. This positive and rewarding experience was an important factor in her motivation to pursue a nursing degree. Following graduation from nursing school, Katie’s first nursing position was in a neurotrauma ICU. In the ICU, Katie observed that patients with similar injuries and demographics could have very different outcomes. Because of her biology background, she was aware that genetic and genomic variability could be contributing to the differences in her patients’ outcomes, as well as environmental and health-related factors. This experience motivated her to return to graduate school to obtain her PhD in nursing while studying traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

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Susan Fernbach

Susan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and an active member of ISONG. As is the case with many members of our community, Susan did not take a direct path to nursing. Her early plans consisted of pursuing an academic career in her first degree, Spanish. After conversations with a friend about the multiple opportunities in nursing, she decided to change paths. Her background in the Spanish language has been an asset to her throughout her career. In the hospital, Susan communicates with patients and families daily in Spanish and has gained a deeper understanding of the language and culture. In addition, since 2001, Susan has been involved with a medical mission organization in Guatemala and has served on the Board of Directors for eight years. As far as ISONG goes, Susan has served as a leader within the organization as part of the Education, Nominating, and Global Membership Committees. When asked about ISONG, Susan says, “ISONG is a tiny gem of an organization and I speak about ISONG and careers in genetic and genomic nursing at every opportunity!”  Susan adds, “I wish there was a greater understanding of ISONG as an inclusive organization with members who have extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of care, education, and research regarding genetic and genomic health. ISONG is an incredible resource for each of us.” 

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Noopur Swadas

Noopur is a 3rd year undergraduate nursing student at the University of Calgary in Canada. Prior to nursing, Noopur was a Biological Science major but didn’t feel passionate about her chosen career. During that time, Noopur was volunteering at a local hospital. Witnessing the difference nurses made for their patients inspired her. Noopur has a passion for helping people, and she realized that nursing would be an ideal profession through which she could do that, so she switched majors to pursue nursing.  

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