Keynote Speakers

2022 Keynote Speakers

MNRS is pleased to host the following Keynote Speakers for the 46th Annual Research Conference:


Opening Keynote Speaker: March 31, 2022

Heather Young, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean Emerita, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis

A nurse leader, educator, scientist and nationally recognized expert in gerontological nursing and rural health care, Heather M. Young is a professor and dean emerita for the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis.

Young researches healthy aging with a particular focus on the interface between individuals, family and formal health care systems. She co-leads the Healthy Aging in a Digital World initiative at UC Davis Health, in which a diverse team of experts explore the use of technology to provide a bridge between independent living and access to health care across a person’s lifespan. She also is associate director for strategic partnerships and faculty with the School of Nursing’s Family Caregiving Institute, which seeks to better support family caregivers of individuals with chronic diseases while also improving the preparation of health professionals to provide that support and coaching.

Previously, her research played an instrumental role in shaping long-term care policies in Washington state and beyond and she conducted several longitudinal studies of family caregiving in the context of cognitive and functional decline. Her systems research includes medication management and safety in rural assisted-living settings and hospitals, as well as the use of technology, such as telehealth, and community-based strategies to promote healthy aging.

Young is co-director of the Latino Aging Research Resource Center, one of seven National-Institutes of-Aging-funded Research Centers for Minority Aging Research. She is the principal investigator for a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) study seeking to improve health for individuals with diabetes through technology-enabled nurse coaching.

As founding dean and Associate Vice Chancellor for Nursing for UC Davis Health, Young led the establishment of the School of Nursing, the development of five new graduate programs in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership, the design and construction of the 70,000-square-foot Betty Irene Moore Hall and the formation of a nursing science research program focused on healthy systems and healthy people. She served as a Commissioner on the California Future Healthcare Workforce Commission.

Closing Keynote Speaker: April 2, 2022

Mary K. Wakefield, PhD, RN, FAAN
Visiting Professor- The University of Texas at Austin Georgetown University


Mary K. Wakefield PhD, RN, FAAN is the Visiting Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Health Care at Georgetown University and also a Visiting Professor and Distinguished Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin.  Prior to these appointments, in March 2015, Dr. Wakefield was named by President Barack Obama to serve as the Acting Deputy

Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the second most senior position in the Department. She held this position through January 20, 2017.  As a senior government official, she was responsible for overseeing management and operations of HHS, a department with a $1 trillion budget and 80,000 employees. In addition, she led strategic Department-wide initiatives in key health policy areas, with a particular focus on health and human service programs for vulnerable populations.

Prior to becoming Acting Deputy Secretary, Dr. Wakefield was appointed by President Obama as the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  From 2009 to 2015, Dr. Wakefield led and initiated program improvements at HRSA to further strengthen the health care workforce, build healthier communities, increase health equity, and provide health care services to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.

Dr. Wakefield’s public service career also includes over eight years working in the United States Senate where she served as a legislative assistant and later as chief of staff to two North Dakota senators:  Kent Conrad and Quentin Burdick.

Dr. Wakefield has extensive academic experience, including serving as associate dean for rural health at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences University of North Dakota, director of the Center for Health Policy, Research and Ethics at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, and as a faculty member and area chair in the College of Nursing, University of North Dakota.  Additionally, she worked on site as a consultant to the World Health Organization’s Global Programme on AIDS in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Wakefield began her nursing career practicing in medical-surgical and intensive care nursing. She is a native of Devils Lake, North Dakota.

Joining Dr. Wakefield on a Keynote Panel:
Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FNAP, FAAN
Dean and Professor
University of Wisconsin - Madison


Dr. Scott was named the 8th dean of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing in July 2016. She previously served as the College of Nursing’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with additional responsibilities as the Director of Graduate Studies, PhD Studies, and Urban Health. From 2009-2012, she served as associate dean for graduate programs at Kirkhof College of Nursing at Grand Valley State.Her program of research focuses on the impact of fatigue and sleep deprivation on both nurses and their patients. Dr. Scott has also developed and implemented programs focused on economically disadvantaged students, including racial and ethnic minorities. She has led diversity efforts across academic degrees, curricula, and universities, including the implementation of holistic review for admissions.

Dr. Scott assumed the role of president-elect of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) in October 2021. She is  also a fellow and past board member of AAN, board member for the International Network for Doctoral Education in Nursing and editorial board member for the journal Advances in Nursing Doctoral Education and Research (ANDER). In addition, she is a member of the American Nurses Association and the Sleep Research Society.

Patricia Sharpnack, DNP, RN, CNE, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAAN
Dean and Professor
Ursuline College


Dr. Patricia Sharpnack is Dean and Strawbridge Professor at Ursuline College, The Breen School of Nursing and Health Professions.  She holds leadership and board positions on several regulatory bodies, healthcare agencies, and professional organizations at regional, national, and international levels. She sits on the Ohio Board of Nursing as past president and current supervisory member and nursing education chair, is a NCSBN delegate, the Chair- Elect of the National League for Nursing.  She has worked in integrative healthcare for several years and her research with the Amish explored integrative and spiritual healthcare practices in the Amish community. Dr. Sharpnack is the recipient of the 2012 Midwest Nursing Research Society (MNRS) Nursing Education Advancement of the Science Award, the 2015 NEONI Legacy Award in Education, the 2018 International Quality and Safety in Education of Nurses Leadership Award, the 2019 MNRS Academic-Practice Partnership Award, the 2020 NCSBN Elaine Ellibee Award for outstanding leadership as a Board President, the 2020 Ursuline College Amadeus Rappe Alumni Award, and the 2021 National League for Nursing Mary Adelaide Nutting Excellence in Nursing Education Leadership Award.  Dr. Sharpnack is a TeamSTEPPS Master Team Trainer and member of the Advisory Board to the American Hospital Association.  She is on the editorial board and reviewer for several refereed journals and has extensively published and presented at national and international conferences.  Dr. Sharpnack is a Fellow in both the Academy of Nurse Educators and the American Academy of Nursing.