Get to know our Black Faculty and Staff

We asked our Black Husky Nurses to share a little bit about themselves. They are outstanding faculty and staff who do an amazing job in our School and community.

Sharon Laing – Assistant Professor, School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership, University of Washington Tacoma

“I’ve engaged in chronic disease prevention research targeting low-resourced communities. Most recently, I’ve explored digital healthcare tools as viable innovations to support safety-net patients. Specifically, I’ve evaluated strategies for healthcare providers to engage low-resourced patients in remote digital healthcare management and to integrate remote patient data into healthcare decision-making.

Sharon Laing

In 2020, I was honored to have received a UW Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. Earlier in my career, I received several awards for my research in breast cancer prevention and control among low-resourced African American women. I was the recipient of the Minority Cancer Research Scholar Award from the American Association for Cancer Research, a Breast Cancer Medical Research Award from the Congressional-Directed Medical Research Program of the Department of Defense, and an American Psychological Association Dissertation Research Award.

As a Health Psychologist, who teaches in a school of nursing, I am engaged in healthcare services research. I cannot say that a single person has inspired me, rather, a community compelled me to move into my current scholarship and pedagogical space. During my early doctoral studies, I was researching pre-attentive information processing using the startle eyeblink modulation. One summer, I assisted a professor in recruiting African American women into a community-engaged breast cancer prevention clinical trial. I was astonished to learn of the pernicious impact of breast cancer on African American communities and the societal factors that needed to be ameliorated to improve health outcomes. I returned to my lab, discontinued my startle modulation study, and started a new line of research.

I am now teaching in a nursing program because I recognize the importance of working with frontline health professionals. It is critical to engage direct-care healthcare professionals so that strategies can be implemented to support the health and well-being of disadvantaged communities.”

Recently, Professors Laing and Wendy Barrington and spoke on the podcast Paw’d Defiance.

Betsy Mau – Academic Counselor; Graduate Program Advisor, UW Seattle

Betsy Mau

“My mother, Margaret “Peggy” Gaiters, has been my enduring inspiration.  She worked in healthcare as a nurse’s aide and nurse technician, and she is the reason why I love nursing today.  She was also a person of faith with a generous heart who, whenever she saw another person’s need or potential, would reach out to help and encourage them.

I really love working with people who have chosen a career helping others.  That’s faculty, staff, and students!  It is gratifying to be a part of such meaningful work.

I am an adviser to graduate students at the School of Nursing.  My role includes being available to support students throughout their program, tracking student progress, and graduating students upon completion of their degree program.”

Brady Rainey – Director, Continuing Nursing Education (UWCNE)

Brady Rainey

“As Director of Continuing Nursing Education (UWCNE), I manage a range of activities that support the operation of this self-sustaining department/unit that includes budgeting, marketing, accreditation, program development, fundraising, market analysis, community outreach, grant-writing, instructor/speaker recruitment, and organizational development

Strong. Confident. Authentic. Smart. Compassionate. A Force of Nature. And simply awesome. Just a few words to describe my mom. She has inspired me to be the best person that I can be. She believed that everyone deserved second, third, and fourth chances. She was a fierce advocate of the marginalized, underrepresented, and historically disenfranchised. She was a genuinely fantastic person. Often challenging, I strive to be like her every day.

I love the work we are doing to end Anti-Blackness, racism, and other forms of discrimination in healthcare, by educating current/future nursing leaders. Also, I enjoy the people that I get to work with every day.”

Keondra Rustan- Assistant Director of Simulation

Keondra Rustan

“As the Assistant Director of Simulation, I wear many hats: I can teach, facilitate and develop simulation activities, mentor students, assist faculty in a variety of ways, perform administrative duties, etc.

My maternal grandmother is the person who inspires me the most she was such a strong, giving, and kind person. She helped other very often and loved to teach others. I was able to see her impact on others up until she passed away and she always will be a strong source of inspiration for me and who I have become. I am lucky because I am surrounded by many strong women such as my mother and two older sisters. I grew up around people who taught and inspired me. If you asked me what inspires me its what I do and my results, having this opportunity to affect nursing care on a larger scale by promoting holistic education in future nursing leaders inspires me and drives me to do my best every day. When I see that ah-ha moment in a student’s eyes, and it connects that also inspires me. Just being able to do what I love on a daily basis is inspirational enough but having this opportunity to lead and foster others just makes for habitual awe-inspiring experiences.

I love how open and collaborative everyone is at the School of Nursing; when COVID hit and we went into quarantine, faculty had to think of creative and innovative methods to provide the students with education. I loved that they came to the sim center with ideas, and we had a discussion of what they needed and what would work. During this experience we even collaborated with LT/IT as well. The collaboration, unity, and patience from all involved really helped what could have been a more stressful first year for me. I am proud to work people who continually work each day to “do and be better.””