Mary Beth Steck

Dr. Mary Beth Steck is the first nursing faculty member from South Carolina selected for the fully-funded, four-day immersion program held by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Image Credit: Mary Beth Steck

Mary Beth Steck, assistant professor in the Clemson University School of Nursing, recently participated in the 2016 Faculty Policy Intensive (FPI) in Washington, D.C. Dr. Steck is the first nursing faculty member from South Carolina selected for the fully-funded, four-day immersion program held by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

The fourth annual FPI offered participants the opportunity to enhance existing knowledge of policy and advocacy through sessions designed to strengthen their understanding of the legislative process and relationships between federal departments and agencies. Steck said the trip was an eye opening experience that will impact the rest of her career.

“It was an unforgettable, and I look forward to integrating the knowledge I gained from the trip into the health policy courses I teach at Clemson,” Steck said. “I’ll also be able to better advocate for nursing at the local and state levels.”

The FPI allowed Steck and seven other nurse educators from AACN schools to meet with multiple groups representing political, health care and research bodies. Steck met with Senator Lindsey Graham’s legislative staff to discuss current health policy initiatives and networked with Congressional staff at AACN’s Congressional Reception.

The group participated in workshops to refine communication, lobbying and political fund-raising skills for effective advocacy. The group engaged with representatives from the American Association of Retired Persons, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health.

The FPI is not limited to a four-day experience, as the AACN expects participants to put their new knowledge to work. As an AACN Faculty Policy Fellow, Steck will collaborate with cohort members and AACN’s Government Affairs Department to carry out a project on a policy topic to inform AACN membership. Steck said she is excited to continue her current research with new tools the FPI has afforded her.

“I will continue to assess awareness and knowledge of genetic discrimination health policy among nurses not only in South Carolina, but nationwide,” Steck said. “The FPI has certainly provided valuable experience that will only strengthen my research.”

Steck is currently a genetic/genomic content expert for the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She was a 2013 NCI Molecular Prevention Course Fellow and a 2014 NIH Summer Genetics Institute Fellow. She authored a white paper concerning current genetic information nondiscrimination policy for the Ethics and Public Policy Committee of the International Society of Nurses in Genetics. Steck obtained an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in healthcare genetics and a master’s degree with FNP concentration from Clemson University. She received her BSN from the University of Iowa.