OU’s Kathleen Spencer named among Crain’s Notable Women in Health

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March 24, 2020

Kathleen Spencer, special instructor in Oakland University’s School of Nursing, has been named to Crain’s Detroit Business’ 2020 list of Notable Women in Health. Along with other honorees, Spencer is featured in a special section of Crain’s March 16 online and print issue. 

The honorees were selected for demonstrating the ability to effect change in the health care industry. They have also shown a willingness to share expertise and have assumed leadership positions outside their organizations. Judy Didion, dean of OU’s School of Nursing, nominated Spencer for the honor, calling her “a champion for adolescents and young adults in the region, supporting drug and alcohol addiction prevention, referral and recovery support.”

An OU faculty member since 2011, Spencer is a certified adult clinical nurse specialist and certified national peer support specialist. She has helped launch community NARCAN training programs to train nursing students, faculty and community members in an effort to reduce mortality rates from opioid overdoses. Multiple students and individuals in the Oakland community have used their training to save lives.

Spencer also serves the 52-3 District Court in Rochester as a consultant regarding progress for individuals in programs for substance use offenses. She is faculty mentor for student recovery groups on campus and serves in the OU Collegiate Recovery Community, advocating housing and services for student success. 

In addition, she is president of the Theta Psi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing. She was instrumental in acquiring over $30,000 from the Jonas Foundation to support graduate student nursing education for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. She is also a member of The Honors College Council and consistently mentors students in the OU Honors program. 

Spencer’s influence on health goes beyond the nursing and medical community. Along with her doctorate in Nursing Practice, she has a master’s in Journalism and a bachelor’s in Creative Writing. She has published 23 refereed journal articles, two book chapters related to health and nursing, eight health-related articles in lay press and 46 poems.

Her other efforts include serving in the OU Faculty Learning Community: Emotional Health of Students. She is a member of the Alliance of Coalition for Healthy Communities and Hope Not Handcuffs in Auburn Hills, as well as the Oakland County chapter of Families Against Narcotics.

The Notable Women in Health list is part of Crain’s Detroit Business’ Notable Women in Michigan series, which also recognizes women in STEM, human resources, education marketing, real estate, nonprofits and more.

Eric Reikowski, Public Information Specialist
(248) 370-4348


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