I am delighted to nominate Dr. Cheryl Krause-Parello for American Nurse Today’s Spirit of Caring Award. Cheryl is a tenured associate professor of nursing at the University of Colorado College of Nursing and the founding director of Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors (C-PAWW, www.nursing.ucdenver.edu/C-PAWW. Cheryl personifies a nurse who combines extraordinary vigor and intellect with compassion and empathy. Cheryl’s innovative military health research initiative—C-PA.W.W.—is conducting pioneering research into the use of service dogs as an adjunctive therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder in military veterans. Cheryl’s tireless advocacy on behalf of veterans has changed Colorado state laws surrounding service dog use and training.
Multiple nurse-driven Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Initiative (PCORI) research contracts enables Cheryl and her team to study protective factors against veteran suicide and ways in which veterans can be more engaged as equal partners in the research enterprise. Through these PCORI funded projects she has touched veteran’s lives in Colorado (n= 100’s) and across the United States of America (sn= 1000’s). One example of her national impact was her creation of Veterans’ Action Leagues (VAL) in six states. The VAL Units are co-led by university-based academic researchers (e.g. nurses) and veterans to develop and build a national infrastructure for veteran-centered research. Cheryl is conducting groundbreaking research using salivary biomarkers to quantify the stress-relieving impacts of therapy dogs on wounded warriors undergoing aeromedical evacuation from Ramstein, Germany to Andrews Airforce Base in Maryland. Cheryl makes a difference in the lives of military and veterans by leveraging her research findings to advocate for public policy changes..
What sets Cheryl apart from other military health researchers is her extraordinary passion for improving the lives of veterans through nursing science. Cheryl’s kind heart, warmth, and generosity continuously draw colleagues and patient partners to work with her. Her dynamic leadership on the Military Expert Panel for the American Academy of Nursing, her receipt of the ANA Jessie M. Scott Award in 2014, leadership as Ambassador for PCORI and as the President-Elect of the International Society for Anthrozoology demonstrate her inexhaustible enthusiasm for improving the lives of military veterans with animal-assisted interventions.