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Dr. Steven J. Palazzo : Principal Investigator/TTH Program Director

Dr. Steven J. Palazzo

Principal Investigator/TTH Program Director

Steven J. Palazzo, Ph.D., M.N., R.N., C.N.E., is an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at Seattle University. Dr. Palazzo earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a Master in Nursing (MN), and a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Washington. He has eight years of clinical experience in critical care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and has published research on the utility of biomarkers in diagnosing ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Dr. Palazzo is interested in Prevention Science Research. His current research and scholarship focuses on developing and implementing a sustainable interdisciplinary program of cardiovascular health promotion and disease prevention aimed at creating a culture of health in adolescents from under-resourced communities. He currently partners with the Hope Heart Institute to lead the Teen Take Heart program.

Teen Take Heart (TTH) confronts a major national healthcare issue by using a health and science-based program to engage students and promote sustained change in attitudes and actions about wellness. TTH utilizes a series of interactive in-class instructional and hands-on, web- and kit-based lessons. Recognizing that no single health promotion strategy will be uniformly effective, a complementary goal is to expand our understanding of how to initiate and sustain behavior change in economically and ethnically diverse populations. An additional feature of the program is that it exposes teens to options for health care careers that rely on science. “Teen Take Heart is an experiment in progress.” He will be measuring results over time to see if there are sustained changes in the cardiovascular knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of high school students both short- and long-term.

Dr. Palazzo is one of just 12 nursing educators from across the United States to win a highly competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholars program in 2013. He has receivde a three-year, $350,000 award to promote his academic career and support his research. The Nurse Faculty Scholar award is given to junior faculty who show outstanding promise as future leaders in academic nursing.

He and Cherie Skager, the Hope Heart's executive director, are recipients of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Strategic Communications Training Fellowship (2015).

Dr. Palazzo is also the recipient of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientist (ARCS) fellowship (2007), the Hope Heart Institute Sauvage Fellow (2012), Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy Fellowship (2012-13), the Hope Heart Endowed Fellowship (2014), and The Academic Service Learning Faculty Fellowship Program, Seattle University, College of Education (2015).

Mark S. Erickson :

Mark S. Erickson

Mark S. Erickson is a registered nurse at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA. Mark specializes in gastroenterology with emphasis on interventional biliary and pancreatic endoscopy. He graduated from Seattle University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. He is currently a Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate student at Seattle University with a focus on gender research. Mark’s personal mission is to use his knowledge, experience, and skills to empower others to collaborate and reach common goals. He is from Port Huron, MI and visits the Great Lakes region frequently to spend time with family.

Sabrina Raj :

Sabrina Raj

Sabrina Raj is a Family Nurse Practitioner student pursuing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) at Seattle University. She has been a registered nurse for over ten years working in both inpatient and outpatient cardiology units in Seattle, WA. Her nursing career has ranged from Telemetry to Cardiac ICU followed by nurse coordination for Structural Heart Services. While attending Seattle University, she currently is working part-time as a Medical ICU nurse at Swedish Medical Center. In keeping with her passion for cardiology, Sabrina is partnering with Teen Take Heart to create a summer program where at-risk adolescents can learn about how to adopt heart-healthy lifestyles in order to prevent the development of CVD for her DNP scholarly project.

Ambera Dedic :

Ambera Dedic

My name is Ambera Dedic and I am Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student at Seattle University. I have been a Registered Nurse since 2016 and my experience includes Critical Care, Behavioral Health and Family Medicine. I'm passionate about approaching health promotion from a community perspective by further developing my knowledge of the relationship that exists between a persons' neighborhood and their health outcomes. My DNP project will focus on cardiovascular health promotion in the adolescent age group within the Renton School District by incorporating the TTH module three, known as Physical Activity, into a Physical Exercise class where meaningful connections can be established among students regarding physical activity and cardiovascular disease reduction.

Jamie Cline :

Jamie Cline

My name is Jamie Cline and I’m a family nurse practitioner student at Seattle University. I’m also an RN specializing in Cardiology at Overlake hospital in Bellevue, WA. Most of my experience involves taking care of patients who have already developed cardiovascular disease and I believe it’s vital to focus on preventative strategies, specifically on the harmful effects of stress during adolescence. There are evidence-based strategies that teach children and adolescents how to live and process their stress through the use of coping skills and various interventions, especially when implemented in the school setting.

Andrew Bennett :

Andrew Bennett

With an undergrad degree in recreation, I can easily say my years in undergrad were filled with adventure. With class titles such as advanced sailing, and group leadership, it is no wonder that I had no idea what it meant to be a nurse until I saw for myself. My name is Andy and I became interested in this project because not only am I a nurse, but I’m also a patient.  I found out about nursing from observations made from my own hospital bed and I’m curious if this is how other men also found out about nursing as a career. Before then, no one had told me that I could be a nurse, I had to see it for myself. I’m interested in this project because I want men to learn about nursing without having to succumb to being admitted to a hospital bed to see what nursing is.

Gavin Mahaley : IT Consultant

Gavin Mahaley

IT Consultant

As a consultant for Teen Take Heart, Gavin oversees the design and development of the online versions of the learning modules. With a background in user experience design for pediatric health initiatives, Gavin was drawn to the Teen Take Heart mission of helping at-risk youth in underserved communities. Gavin has a Master’s degrees in English Literature from Portland State University and a Master’s degree in Philosophy from New York University. Gavin spends his free time surfing the Oregon coast.