Dowell and Hansen Named Ph.D. Co-Directors

From Touch Point Online Magazine, Winter 2021, Vol. V, Issue 4

Kent State University College of Nursing recently announced the appointment of Jo Dowell, Ph.D., APRN, CNP, PNP, FNP-BC, CFNE, assistant professor, along with Dana Hansen, Ph.D., APRN, ACHPN, associate professor, as co-directors of the Ph.D. program. The newly developed state-of-the-science curriculum will equip students to research emerging areas of nursing science. Ph.D. students will work with expert faculty mentors in self-management, health disparities, health system leadership and quality, serious illness and end-of-life care, mental health and nursing education.


Meet the Ph.D. Co-Directors


Jo Dowell, Ph.D., APRN, CNP, PNP, FNP-BC, CFNE

Headshot of Dr. Jo Dowell
Inspired by observing her mother’s desire to help others and the stories she read about Clarissa Harlowe Barton, the nurse who founded the American Red Cross, Dowell found herself drawn to the nursing profession. However, it was her personal experiences as a young patient that honed her desire to specialize in pediatrics.

“I was hospitalized for almost a year with Rheumatic fever, and although I was seriously ill, the nurses made my experience less stressful and less painful when my parents were not at the hospital,” recalled Dowell. “Back then, parents were only allowed to visit during visiting hours. The nurses knew I needed a different type of care and attention. I wanted to be like those caring nurses working to help hospitalized children feel better.”

Throughout her career, Dowell has overcome many challenges, including issues surrounding race.

“I was one of two African American nurses in the whole hospital when I graduated as a nurse. This was challenging at times,” remembered Dowell, who went on to share an experience in which a patient’s family requested no care was to be provided by a nurse of color. “Over time situations have improved, but hate still exists in the world.”

With more than 35 years of teaching experience, Dowell hopes her students feel her desire to help them achieve their educational goals. Recognizing that students utilize different tactics to retain information, Dowell has tailored her teaching style to meet the needs of the individuals in her classes. She loves to see the expression on her students’ faces when they have accomplished a new skill. Dowell has taught courses about nursing research, advance quantitative research, evidence-based practice and pathophysiology.

As co-director of the Ph.D. program, Dowell is eager to help advance the direction of the program through recruiting students and providing direction to the Ph.D. faculty so they can better serve Kent State Ph.D. students.

“Our Ph.D. program is designed to help students gain essential knowledge in order to become a leader of scientific innovation who influences the health outcomes for our communities.”



Dana Hansen, Ph.D., APRN, ACHPN

Headshot of Dr. Dana Hansen
A hospice nurse for more than 20 years, Hansen was drawn to the specialty because of the opportunity to care for patients and their families in the comfort of their homes at one of the most difficult times in their lives.

“I gained an essential understanding of my patient and families by working with them in their own environment. It allowed me to offer the most help to them with that full understanding,” recalled Hansen. “It is an honor to be entrusted with the care of a patient at the end of their life.”

Hansen began working at Kent State University in 2013. In the classroom, she helps her students make connections between nurse scientists doing research, publishing their findings and using this information to influence nursing practice. Hansen enjoys sharing what it means to be a nurse and seeing her students’ evolution in that understanding, as well. She hopes her students take with them a passion for research, along with an understanding of the importance of curiosity and asking difficult and even complex questions.

Nursing provides endless opportunities to create change, and that is what Hansen most enjoys about the profession. “As nurses, we have the opportunity to bring about change at the patient and family level, but also at a larger systems level.”

Transitioning into the role of co-director, Hansen is excited to use her past experiences to help the program meet the needs of its students.

“As a previous clinical nurse specialist, one of my primary responsibilities was program development, which I greatly enjoyed,” said Hansen. “Working with Dr. Dowell has been a lot of fun as well. Her energy, enthusiasm and drive keep us focused.”


Kent State College of Nursing is seeking ambitious, innovative, and inquisitive nurses to join our Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) program. To learn more about this on-campus program, admissions requirements, curriculum and areas of current research, call 330-672-8838 or visit

POSTED: Tuesday, December 7, 2021 08:58 AM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 04:39 PM
Mariah Gibbons