American Indian Nursing Leader Roxanne Struthers Passes Away

Roxanne Struthers, PhD, RN, CHTP, AHN-BC, CTN, a pioneering American Indian nursing educator, researcher, author, healer and leader, passed away on December 10, 2005 at the age of 53. Dr. Struthers, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, was one of only 14 American Indians to hold a doctorate in nursing. At the time of her death, she was president-elect of the National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association (NANAINA) and was serving on the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice.

Dr. Struthers was a member of the Red Lake Ojibwe tribe and was born and raised on the White Earth Reservation in northwestern Minnesota. She earned her PhD in nursing from the University of Minnesota in 1999. A certified healing touch practitioner, holistic nurse and certified transcultural nurse, Dr. Struthers was internationally recognized for her research on Indian health issues, including diabetes, tobacco use, traditional Indian healing and historical trauma. With her NANAINA colleague Dr. John Lowe, she published a groundbreaking model for culturally competent Indian nursing practice, as part of the Nursing in Native American Culture project.

Roxanne Struthers, PhD, RN, CHTP, AHN-BC, CTNRoxanne Struthers, PhD, RN, CHTP, AHN-BC, CTN

In addition to devoting her career to improving the health of Indian people, Dr. Struthers worked tirelessly to help other Native nurses gain access to academic and research careers. At the University of Minnesota, she was a key faculty member on the American Indian MS to PhD Nursing Science Bridge, an NIH-funded project designed to double the number of Native nurses with doctoral degrees. She was also director of UofM’s Native Nurses Career Opportunity Program.

To honor and continue Dr. Struthers’ legacy of promoting advanced education for American Indian nurses, both the University of Minnesota and NANAINA are establishing scholarship funds in her name. Contributions to one or both of the funds are welcome.

To make a contribution to UofM’s Roxanne Struthers Fellowship, which will support Native graduate students in nursing, contact Laurel Mallon, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, 5-138 Weaver Densford Hall, 308 Harvard Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. For more information about the NANAINA scholarship fund, which is currently in the planning stages, contact Dr. Lee Anne Nichols at lee-nichols@utulsa.edu.