The College of Nursing is excited to announce that Dr. DeAnne K. Hilfinger Messias has been appointed the Emily Myrtle Smith Professor of Community Nursing for a five-year term, beginning August 15, 2015. Miss Emily Myrtle Smith was an innovative leader in community and occupational health nursing, serving as an officer of the US Public Health Services from 1945 to 1965. She was also a pioneer in international nursing education initiatives in Taiwan and Japan. In recognition of her many close ties to the USC College of Nursing, in 1974 Miss Smith was awarded an Honorary Alumni Membership to the College.
In 1965, Miss Smith and her family created this endowed professorship fund, with the goal of supporting nursing initiatives that promote community health and wellness. Previous appointments to the Emily Myrtle Smith Chair include Dr. Faye G. Abdellah (1990-1991), Dr. Cheryl C. Cox (1992), Dr. Ora Strickland (1994), Dr. Elizabeth T. Anderson (1996) and Dr. Beverly Flynn (1997).
Dr. Messias has dedicated her career in international community health nursing, research, and education to improving the health and well-being of vulnerable women, their families, and communities. In the 1980s, as Director of Community Health for the Funcação Esperança she trained and supervised village health workers serving in their remote communities along the Brazilian Amazon River. She has taught community health and women’s health nursing at the undergraduate and graduate levels in Brazil and the US. Since coming to USC in 2000, Dr. Messias has conducted community-engaged research and implemented and evaluated community-based programs aimed at improving immigrants’ access to culturally and linguistically appropriate health services and promoting the health of immigrant women and their families. Her extensive scholarship has examined women’s employment transitions, domestic work, volunteer work, HIV/AIDS peer counseling work, and the work of pregnancy.