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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston Professor To Be Inducted into Hall of Fame

University of Massachusetts Boston Professor Laura L. Hayman Ph.D. has been selected by the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing to be inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. Hayman, who is a professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, is one of 23 honorees selected from around the globe to receive this award. She is being recognized for her work as a transdisciplinary nurse, researcher, and mentor toward the prevention of cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Upon hearing of her nomination, Hayman stated, “I was honored and humbled to be nominated for this award.”

When asked how she felt about her experiences in the field that led to this award, she expressed her gratefulness for her research mentors, collaborations, and the opportunities she had to advance the science and practice of cardiovascular health promotion. She is equally thankful to engage in mentoring the next generation of nursing and transdisciplinary scientist and scholars.

Hayman first discovered her interest in the field when she was an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. There, she had the opportunity to work on a 10-year observational study of twin children, adolescents, and their families and the behavioral, psychosocial, and physiological risk factors of cardiovascular disease. She quickly noticed the pattern of obesity within the risk factors that were being studied.

Her interest then piqued when she realized that obesity was a major public health challenge. She was eager to find out what she could do to help the prevention of obesity. She stated, “It was clear to me that prevention is critically important and that [it goes] beyond the individual, focusing on the families, the schools, the communities, and the policies that impact those environments.”

Hayman joined the UMass Boston community in 2007 as the associate dean for research within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences in hopes of developing the Office of Research and advancing the programs of research within the scope of nursing and health sciences. “I wanted to come to UMass Boston because I believed in the urban and global mission of the university,” said Hayman.

Since her arrival at UMass Boston, she has collaborated with her colleagues in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences on many different projects, one of them being the Healthy Body Healthy U (HBHU) study. The study uses social media approaches to reduce obesity and create healthy lifestyles in college students.

According to the HBHU website, their goal is to “determine what type and how much information will be most effective to have a healthy weight and to lower other risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.”

Hayman also serves on The Health Policy Committee as a part of The Society of Behavioral Medicine. As stated on their website, the Health Policy Committee “identifies, assesses, and develops key opportunities to inform the policy debate at the federal and state level.” When looking toward the future, Hayman plans to do just that.

“All roads converge on policy. To change the whole schema, we need to impact the policies that would promote healthy eating and physical activity such as physical education in the schools,” Hayman explains. “You need the science to inform the policy. If we have any hope to change the policies on any level, we need the science to inform.”

In addition to this, Hayman states that she hopes to “launch the next generation and continue to work with doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students of researchers that are going to benefit the health of the public… and contribute to the science, the practice, and the policy on many levels.”

“The teaching, mentoring, and research all work synergistically and I think we convey our passion for what we’re doing in those ways and hopefully, we can serve as good role models and examples for students so that they will want to pursue what their passions are.”

Hayman mentors students both within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and outside. She has one message for students: “Pursue your passion, optimize your opportunities for learning both in the classroom and out, for academic and experiential learning, think across disciplines as you think about your work, and identify and develop a mentoring relationship.”

Hayman will be inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame in Melbourne, Australia, this coming July.