Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
OSU-CHS News > 2014

July 10, 2014

OSU-CHS honors behavioral sciences professor for distinguished service

Van Winkle
Van Winkle

The Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Faculty Senate recently presented Dr. Nancy Van Winkle with the Faculty Distinguished Service Award.

“Dr. Van Winkle has a long history of superior service to our students and the medical school,” said Dr. Robin Dyer, past president of the OSU-CHS Faculty Senate. “She is respected by the OSU-CHS faculty for her dedication to improving the health of older adults in Oklahoma and her involvement in community-based palliative care efforts.”

Van Winkle helped establish a senior mentoring program as part of a new curriculum implemented by the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2013. The program pairs medical students with volunteers to build relationships, gain insight into health issues affecting older adults and foster positive attitudes toward seniors. Students also polish their interpersonal skills, which are a vital part of the doctor-patient relationship.

She is a member of the OSU Linking Gerontology and Geriatrics Advisory Committee, which organizes conferences and events to provide resources to health care professionals working with older adults.

A professor of behavioral sciences, Van Winkle teaches in the areas of aging, death and dying, cultural competency and interviewing skills. She also is a co-coordinator of a four-semester course on developing the physician. Her research interests have included suicide and end-of-life decisions among American Indians and family caregivers of elders with dementia.

Van Winkle earned bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and sociology from Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of New Mexico and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Kentucky. She was an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Safety Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before joining the faculty at OSU-CHS in 1991.

Van Winkle has been a member of the Faculty Affairs Committee at OSU-CHS for many years. She is a member of the American Sociological Association, Gerontological Society of America and Oklahoma Alliance on Aging, a founding member of the Oklahoma Academy for Palliative Care Education and a founding member of the OSU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in Tulsa and a past member and chair of the OSU-OLLI board.

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