School of Nursing

Distinguished Professors

Outstanding faculty, and the top quality learners they attract, are the greatest asset of an academic institution. Stewarding that asset includes recognizing faculty whose work rises to high level positive impact for the health of the American people and beyond. Honoring top faculty with named Distinguished Professorships is one key way of recognizing such faculty.

A Distinguished Professorship is a lasting tribute to the values and beliefs of donors and of the individuals named in Professorships. The accomplishments of a faculty honored with the title memorializes the key leaders of their time.

At OHSU School of Nursing, Distinguished Professorships signify those faculty whose research and other scholarly work has such impact as to be recognized as exceptional. The impact of these faculty also stands to accelerate the School’s missions and strategic agenda to serve the people of Oregon and the nation.

Dr. Hansen is one of few investigators focused on symptom, palliative and end-of-life care research with adults and older adults experiencing end-stage liver diseases (ESLD) and their families. Through her program of funded research, she has contributed to knowledge of ESLD treatment decision-making, pain and symptom distress, illness and symptom experience in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and their caregivers, and published the protocol on symptom burden in end-stage liver disease. She and her interdisciplinary research team are preparing publications on preliminary data from a current NIH-R01 project that will bring forth leading edge knowledge to the fields of hepatology and gastroenterology on ESLD symptom prevalence, interference, and clusters.

May E. Rawlinson Distinguished Professor

May E. Rawlinson, Ph.D., R.N. was the first alumna of OHSU’s nursing baccalaureate program to earn a doctoral degree, receiving her doctorate in clinical psychology. Dr. Rawlinson and her colleagues were pioneers in nursing research on the psychological aspects of adjusting to chronic illness. As a nursing faculty member, Dr. Rawlinson helped to enhance the clinical focus and research intensity of the master’s program at OHSU and contributed to the establishment of the doctoral program in nursing.

Dr. Noone has achieved national recognition for her innovative work in undergraduate nursing education. Two main areas of focus have been learning activities to prepare nurses to care for diverse populations and promote health equity and educational strategy to support improvement in the diversity of the nursing workforce.  Dr. Noone was inducted as a Fellow in the National League for Nursing Academy for Nursing Education in 2017 and as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing in 2018, both recognizing her work in developing a model to improve nursing workforce diversity with impact at state and national levels.

AB Youmans Spaulding Distinguished Professor

A.B. Youmans Spaulding, R.N., was superintendent of the Multnomah County Hospital. The Multnomah Training School was the institution that eventually became the OHSU School of Nursing. A.B. Youmans Spaulding published her vision for the Training School in 1914 in the Pacific Coast Journal of Nursing, a prominent regional journal at the time. In her article, she wrote about the “education of the mind” – beyond technical skill in nursing – and the value of ability and character as requisites for faculty and school leadership.

Dr. Perry’s funded program of research seeks to promote health equity and eliminate health disparities by promoting physical activity in underserved and disenfranchised populations. She is accomplishing this through community-based participatory research, interdisciplinary research projects and national networks. Dr. Perry is a recognized expert in health promotion research with underserved populations. She was inducted as a Fellow of the American Health Association in 2015, in recognition of her contributions to promoting cardiovascular health with women and minority populations.

Elizabeth N. Gray Distinguished Professor

Elizabeth (Betty) N. Gray was a respected community leader and generous supporter of OHSU and the OHSU School of Nursing. Founding director and chair of the OHSU Foundation Board of Directors, serving on the board for more than two decades. She tirelessly worked to raise private funds for the School of Nursing building on the Portland campus, provided substantial support for nursing scholarships, and endowed funding for rural nursing excellence.


Dr. van Ryn’s research focuses primarily on the way “invisible actors,” such as informal organization norms/diversity climate, implicit (unconscious) biases, inter-group anxiety, and stereotype affect social interaction processes and decision-making. The ultimate goal of her work is to ensure all patients, clients, and students receive equally high-quality care, services, and education in fully inclusive organizations. Her research has improved the national awareness of how providers contribute to disparities in patient care and has led to greater understanding of how improved health care encounters positively impact patient outcomes. She has given more than 75 invited presentations on her research, both nationally and abroad, and she has authored over 107 journal articles, abstracts, and other written publications.

Grace Phelps Distinguished Professor 

Grace Phelps assumed the directorship of the Multnomah School for Nurses in 1915, after completing a graduate course in hospital management in San Francisco. Prior to accepting the director’s position, she worked at Multnomah County Hospital, was instrumental in establishing the Oregon State Graduate Nurse Association (1904), worked to pass the Nurse Registration Act (1911), and was a recipient of the Oregonian’s “Citation of the Week” for her many contributions.

Dr. Winters-Stone has achieved national and international recognition for her work on the positive effects of exercise on both physiologic and psychosocial outcomes in cancer survivors. She has secured over $7 million in research funding from NIH and other prominent funders of cancer prevention and treatment. Findings from her studies have substantially contributed to making exercise an evidence-based intervention that is now a key element of the standard of care for cancer survivors.

Elnora E. Thomson Distinguished Professor

Elnora E. Thomson, RN, FAPHA, became the Director of a new Public Health Nursing program under the School of Social Work at the University of Oregon in 1920. She later became the Director of the Department of Nursing Education at the University of Oregon Medical School in Portland.  Throughout her career, Ms. Thomson was a leader in professional organizations for both nursing and social work at national and international levels.