UH to Confer First Doctoral Degree in Nursing at Summer Commencement

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Aug 14, 2002

The University of Hawaiʻi will confer its first doctoral degree in nursing to Wynetta "Bunny" Carl-Matsuura at the UH Mānoa Summer Commencement Exercises on August 18, 2002. Carl-Matsuura‘s dissertation explored Perinatal Correlates of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS).

The PhD Nursing Program in the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene (SONDH) at UH Mānoa was established in Fall 1998 with seven students in the inaugural class. Currently, there are 23 students in the program, with seven more starting in the fall semester. The program prepares visionary scholars capable of conducting culturally appropriate clinical scholarship and faculty who are prepared to teach in programs with culturally diverse student populations.

Program Director and SONDH Interim Dean Barbara Molina Kooker said, "Developing new knowledge to improve the health of Hawaiʻi‘s people is the goal of the program. This is a monumental occasion for the school to have its first graduate of the PhD program in the year we celebrate our 70th anniversary."

Carl-Matsuura applied to the doctorate program at UH Mānoa in 1999. She has been in the nursing profession since 1970, working for the past 16 years in the field of child maltreatment. She received master‘s degrees in nursing and public health in 1978 from UH.

"I feel it is very important to have nurses educated to conduct research, teach, and lead in the community. As the number of children reported as maltreated grows annually, there is the need for more research on the nurse‘s role, intervention techniques, and prevention education," said Carl-Matsuura.

SBS is a form of abusive head trauma, the leading cause of death in child abuse and the most common result of trauma related death in children. Her study concluded that changes in early educational programs and media campaigns are needed to reduce head trauma in infants and children, with a greater focus on head trauma in general rather than focusing only on SBS.