Retiring Faculty Members Shaped Women's Health Care
How do you measure the impact of a life dedicated to service and improvement of women’s health? How do you measure two lives?
After a combined 33 years of service to The University of New Mexico College of Nursing, Kimberly Cox, PhD, RN, CNM, associate professor, and Barbara Overman, PhD, RN, CNM, associate professor, will be retiring.
The unique challenges and opportunities involved in blending health care policy, teaching, research and clinical care delivery in New Mexico drew Cox to the state. She was already a seasoned professional, having taught in the nurse midwifery program at the University of Florida.
After serving for five years as a member of the midwifery core faculty, Cox focused on research and then took over the PhD program. Her research interests have included vaginal birth after cesarean section, perinatal health disparities, rural maternity care access, health care workforce issues and the opioid crisis. Her collaborations and writings on these topics continue to influence other practitioners and educators worldwide.
Her legacy at the College of Nursing will expand opportunities for colleagues and for future PhDs. “I’ll miss research,” she said. “It’s taken me years to develop expertise, to get to the point in my own scientific inquiry and working with doctoral students to feel like I can take someone to the level where they need to be. That’s been very rewarding.”
“I came to the College of Nursing because of its mission – the primary care programs, the possibilities for increasing access to health services for rural women and educational advancement for nurses,” Overman said. She assumed leadership on a federal grant program to develop a nurse midwife education program at the College of Nursing that has had a significant impact in the state, given that New Mexico has the largest proportion of births attended by midwives.
Overman’s interests are wide-ranging, including the economic and social determinants of health, culture and health care, and innovative models of service delivery for women and infants. Recently, she helped lead interprofessional projects on oral health to develop a knowledge base that can be shared between dentists and primary care providers.
Throughout her career, Overman’s enthusiasm for learning and engaging in meaningful projects have had an impact on the evolution of nursing education, inquiry and care at the College of Nursing, and throughout New Mexico.