PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center Scholars

Faculty members and community partners who contribute to the work of the Collaborating Center can apply for recognition as PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center Scholars. The guidelines for the Scholar appointments are on the School of Nursing Intranet Site under “School-Wide Documents”.  The following faculty have received this recognition:

Maria Shirey, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN

Shirey Maria

Dr. Shirey has been a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center Scholar since early 2014.  Her background in nursing leadership practice, education and research contribute toward achieving the center's goal of promoting global leadership and enhancing inter-professional collaboration among nurses and other health care workers.


Carolyn Jones, BSN, MSPH, RN


Carolyn Jones has been a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center Scholar since 2011.  She is currently a faculty instructor at UABSON leading the Clinical Research Management Specialty Option while at the same time working on her Doctorate of Nursing Practice.  In tandem with her faculty position, she has served as lead instructor/researcher on a National Institute of Health Challenge Grant entitled "Promoting Enhanced Research Capacity for Global Health (The PERC Study)".


Mary Beth Bodin, DNP, CRNP, NNP-BC


Dr. Bodin has been a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center Scholar since 2011.  Her clinical expertise lies in the Neonatal Intensive Care field as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.  She has been involved with several national and international initiatives where collaboration is needed in expanding knowledge in the global arena. 


Karen McCarty, PhD, MPH, MSN, CRNP


Dr. McCarty has been a PAHO/WHO Scholar since 2007.  Her work focuses on Community Health and Child Health.  She has been co-investigator on a Sparkman Center for Global Health funded grant called “Building a Partnership for Collaboration in Nursing Research in Honduras”.  She was also instrumental in securing the "Familias Fuertes" grant on which she was co-investigator.


Elizabeth A. Crooks, DNP, RN, CNE

Elizabeth Crooks

Dr. Crooks has been a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center Scholar since 2012. She is an instructor in the Community Health Outcomes and Systems Department. Her areas of global expertise are in leadership development for nurse educators as well as in establishing long-term working collaborations with scholars around the world.


Doug Oliver, DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, NE-BC


Dr. Oliver became a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center scholar in 2011.  He became interested in global nursing education in the Fall of 2010 when he was invited to participate in the Leadership in Nursing course at UAB.  In this role he was able to collaborate and work with nursing leaders from Africa and Latin America. 


Martha Dawson, DNP, RN, FACHE


Dr. Dawson has been a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center Scholar since 2011.  She is the principal investigator for a HRSA Workforce Diversity Grant and was recently appointed as HRSA grant reviewer. 


Jennan Phillips, DSN, RN


Dr. Phillips has been a WHOCC Scholar since 2011.  She contributes to the goals of the Center by enhancing leadership development related to global health and nursing among students and junior faculty through mentoring activities and through implementing learning experience on global health for students in the traditional BSN and RN Mobility Programs.


Laura Debiasi, MSN, MPH, FNP-C

laura-debiasi-msn-mph-crnp1 Laura Debiasi has been a WHOCC Scholar since 2012.  She has a longstanding interest in and commitment to global health issues. As a nursing student at UAB School of Nursing she was very involved anytime an international opportunity would arise; whether abroad or on campus. As an honors student in nursing she conducted her research project in Honduras evaluating the emotional well-being of girls living in an orphanage.


Marti Rice, PhD, RN, FAAN


Dr. Rice was appointed as a WHOCC Scholar in early 2012.  She originally became involved in global health nursing through the PERC project which involves training international study coordinators in low resource countries.  She is co-Investigator on the project and it has been an eye-opening experience for Dr. Rice.   


Comfort Enah, PhD, RN

Comfort Enah, PhD, RN

Dr. Comfort Enah has been a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center Scholar since 2011.  She is an Assistant Professor in the Community Health Outcomes and Systems Department at the UAB School of Nursing. In the time she has been with UAB SON, she has participated in numerous projects, activities and research related to global health such as her research in HIV prevention in underserved preadolescents and adolescents in rural areas in Alabama’s Black Belt as well as in the west African nation of Cameroon.


D’Ann Somerall, DNP, MAEd, FNP-BC


Dr. Somerall has been a WHOCC Scholar since 2011.  She first became involved in global health nursing through hosting international scholars visiting UAB for various programs the UAB SON offers. She and her family opened their home to several international students and scholars who captured her heart.     


C. Ann Gakumo, PhD, RN


Dr. Gakumo has been a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center Scholar since 2011.  Her interest in global nursing stems from her experience in global health research as well as from her participation in the WHOCC's Global Health Professional Fellows Program in 2011 and 2012. Her current area of research is in promoting health literacy and treatment adherence in individuals living with HIV. 


Deborah Kirk Walker, DNP, FNP-BC, AOCN:


Dr. Walker became a WHOCC Scholar in 2011.  She has been involved in global nursing first through opening her home and hosting a nurse during the leadership conference in 2010. She also facilitated meetings and mentoring activities for a nurse from Zambia involving HIV initiatives in adolescents and  has been an ongoing resource and support system for a colleague in Zambia in regards to oncology initiatives.    


Lygia Holcomb, DSN, C-ARNP


Dr. Holcomb has been a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center Scholar since 2008.  She has been actively contributing to the goals of the WHOCC for many years.  She has mentored scholars from Honduras who attended the International Nursing Leadership Program at UAB SON.


Penni Watts, RN, MSN


Penni Watts has been a WHOCC Scholar since 2011.  She first became involved with global health nursing when she hosted a group of Zambian scholars to facilitate learning experiences in clinical simulations as well as facilitating building a skills lab center. 


Jean B. Ivey, DSN, PNP-PC, BC


Dr. Jean Ivey was appointed as a WHOCC scholar in 2012.  She has contributed her skills to further global health both through the UAB School of Nursing and through personal service. She has worked closely with visiting scholars from various countries.



Anne Williams, PhD, RN


Dr. Williams has been a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center Scholar since early 2012.  She has been interested in global health for over 30 years.  This interest began when she was appointed as a WHO Short Term Consultant to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences in Bangalore, India.  This consultantship helped develop her long-term interest in global health. 


Karmie M. Johnson, MSN, RN, CRNP

photo: Karmie M. Johnson, MSN, RN, CRNP

Karmie Johnson has been a WHOCC Collaborating Center Scholar since early 2013.  She is currently an Instructor in the Community Health and Outcomes department in the UAB school of nursing.