A leading nurse educator and researcher in family nursing whose career has been devoted to family nursing practice, Associate Dean of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences (CNHS) June Andrews Horowitz was elected president-elect of the International Family Nursing Association (IFNA) for a 2-year term beginning on July 2, 2021. She will move to the presidency in 2023. Horowitz currently serves on the board of directors of the organization and is co-chair of the IFNA Conference Planning Committee.
IFNA aims to serve as a unifying force and voice for family nursing globally, enhance and nurture family nursing practice, and provide family nursing leadership, according to its mission statement. Family nursing is a way of conceptualizing nursing practice and is an orientation to interactional patterns for the individual in the context of family and other systems.
“This is a great leadership opportunity,” said Horowitz of her election. “I’ve been involved with the organization for many years and this is a culmination of my work as well as an opportunity to influence family nursing around the world.”
Horowitz’s extensive academic research in this area involves perinatal mental health disorders including postpartum depression, maternal-infant interaction, and family mental health. She also serves as professor of nursing in the graduate programs of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UMass. Dartmouth. A graduate of the School of Nursing at Boston College, Horowitz earned her master’s degree at Rutgers University and her PhD at New York University.
This appointment culminates Horowitz’s dedicated service to the organization. “IFNA is a young organization so there is opportunity to shape its work and future,” Horowitz said when she was named to the board of directors in 2020. “Family is the lens for nursing practice, education, and service, which matches my perspective. I always approach nursing from a family perspective because it is always prevalent in a patient’s life.
“IFNA is an international collaboration of family nurses engaged in clinical practice, education and/or research. IFNA brings together nurses from around the world with a common focus on family health across diverse geography, cultures, and clinical specialties/practice areas,” Horowitz added.
Family nursing practice differs among nations, especially those where it is more prevalent than in the U.S. “Nursing practice in the U.S. tends to be very individualistic,” Horowitz said. “We don’t always treat the individual in a family context. That is important when treating or preventing illness or promoting health. When a patient leaves a hospital or health care encounter of any type, the family has a critically important role in the transition and ongoing health management and care.
“Most people live with a family. Staying healthy and managing a chronic illness or life changes affects everyone in the family,” she added. “This is a dilemma especially for the sandwich generation that is caring for both children and aging parents.”
Horowitz serves as international conference co-chair and a presenter
Joining Horowitz on the board and the conference planning committee are representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. “Setting up meeting times is really interesting,” said Horowitz, adding that the international representation is strong and the opportunity to hear voices from around the globe is exciting.
She has co-chaired IFNA’s past two conferences in Pamplona, Spain and Washington, DC and is currently chairing the 15th International Family Nursing Conference being held virtually from June 28-July 2. Originally scheduled for Dublin, Ireland, this year’s conference, “Family Nursing Throughout the Life Course,” is being held remotely due to the COVID pandemic. Horowitz is also making three presentations at this year’s conference while CNHS is a conference sponsor and specifically a sponsor of the opening session.
“During our Conference Planning Committee meetings, I have had the opportunity to interact with nurses from diverse countries," said Horowitz. "I learn about their perspectives as well as developments in nursing globally.
“It’s a real privilege to interact with people around the world,” Horowitz added. “You may think we have the same outlook, but we don’t necessarily. Our meetings with international colleagues provide ongoing lessons in ‘cultural humility.’ What brings people together is families and care.”
International collaboration will increase visibility for the College of Nursing & Health Sciences
Horowitz’s appointment and involvement with IFNA provides a direct link for CNHS students and faculty to an international nursing organization. “IFNA is a very welcoming organization and this will be a more engaging way to increase visibility for the college,” said Horowitz. “Our students and faculty can find mentors, collaborators, and leadership opportunities by joining committees. A student group was created that has become quite active and offers students their own support network.”
Collaborations developed through connections made at conferences and professional organizations have been valuable, Horowitz said, and can be helpful to fellow CNHS faculty and graduate students in their own research.
The United States, she said, is a leader in graduate nursing education. “In some countries, standard entry nursing education is at the baccalaureate level. We have not yet achieved that in the United States. However, many nurses come to the United States to obtain a doctorate. Some countries have developed their own doctoral programs, although advance practice nursing, such as the nurse practitioner role, has been slower to develop in many other countries.”
Global recognition for nursing
This year has been one of markedly increased visibility for nursing. The World Health Organization has designated 2020-2021 the “Year of the Nurse” to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Nursing has never been so visible and valued internationally as it has been during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Being engaged in IFNA at this crucial time allows me to help shape family nursing and collaborate with nurses globally,” Horowitz added.
CNHS presenters at this year’s virtual IFNA Conference include:
Jennifer Viveiros, MaryBeth Sosa, Joohyun Chung, Mary McCurry, Kristen Sethares, Elizabeth Chin. "The Mental Health Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions Among Community-Dwelling Adults." [Oral presentation].
Tyo, M., McCurry, M., Horowitz, J., & Elliot, K. "Caregiver stress and resilience in family caregivers of individuals with opioid use disorder." [Oral presentation]
Horowitz, J., Posmontier, B., Geller, P.A., Elgohail, M. "Lessons Learned: Transitioning to Telehealth Delivery of Family-Centered Perinatal Mental Health Services." [Paper presentation].
Posmontier, B., Horowitz, J. A., Geller, P., Chiarello, L., & Elgohail, M. (2021, June - July). "Mother-Baby Perinatal Mental Health Day Treatment Programs in the United States." [Paper presentation].
Buck, E., Horowitz, J. A., "Impact Of COVID-19 On Mental Health Treatment Of Children And Their Families In A Community-Based Acute Treatment Program In The Northeastern United States." [Paper presentation].