Debra K Olson DNP, MPH » Faculty

Research Interests:

Professor, Associate Dean for Global Health, Environmental Health Sciences

Address University of Minnesota, School of Public Health 420 Delaware St SE MMC197, Room A306 Mayo Minneapolis MN 55455 Work Phone: 612-625-0476
Photo of Debra K Olson DNP, MPH

Biography:

Debra Olson, DNP, MPH, RN, COHN-S, FAAOHN is the Executive Director of the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility, facilitating global engagement across the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center and Associate Dean for Global Health at the School of Public Health and is responsible for developing strategic partnerships for the delivery of lifelong learning opportunities for interdisciplinary health professional students and the public health practice community. These programs are developed to increase the availability of public health education world-wide and to enhance the capability of working professionals through the application of innovative teaching techniques such as technology-enhanced learning.  Her years of experience in the practice of public health and an extensive background in the delivery of public health academic and professional education allows for leadership both in the global community and the University.

Dr. Olson is Center Director and PI for the University of Minnesota Simulations, Exercises and Effective Education (U-SEEE) CDC funded centers for public health preparedness research (2008-2014) and preparedness education and training (2010-2015).  She is a Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health and adjunct instructor in Public Health Nursing, School of Nursing and the University of North Dakota, School of Medicine and Health Sciences.  As an occupational and environmental health specialist, Dr. Olson was the inaugural chair of the major in Public Health Practice in the School of Public Health providing dual degree options for veterinary, medical, pharmacy and dental students who wish to integrate population science into their clinical careers and public health certificates for working professionals who wish a credential in public health.  In addition, she has extensive experience in the application of new information technologies and competency based curriculum development.  She has published numerous articles relating to occupational and environmental health and the roles and credentialing of public health professionals.

  • D.N.P., School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, 2007
  • M.P.H., Public Health Nursing, University of Minnesota, 1983
  • B.S., Nursing, Winona State University, 1974

Expertise:

Global Health, Public Health Preparedness

Professional Experience:

  • 2009-present INTERNATIONAL NETWORK FOR DOCTORAL TRAINING IN HEALTH LEADERSHIP (NETDOC) an international, collaborative network of educational institutions that offer, or intend to offer, professional doctoral health leadership programs.
  • 2007-2008 Chair, Public Health Training Centers, national network of 14 university based training centers sponsored in part by the Health Resources and Services Administration
  • 2006-present Chair Elect (2006-7), Chair (2007-9), Chair Emeritus (2008-10) ASPH Public Health Practice Council.
  • 2006-7 Emerging Leaders Network. Strategic Planning Committee in partnership with MDH, MPHA and School of Public Health. St. Paul, MN.
  • 2006 Minnesota Department of Health, State Community Health Services Advisory Committee:
  • 2005 Public Health Practice Council, ASPH. Chair elect 2005-2009.
  • 2003 Maternal and Child Health Community Leaders Advisory Board. Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health. A HRSA funded training center (Joan Patterson, PI). University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN.
  • 2000-2006 Medical Services Review Board. Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. First nurse appointed to the board, appointed as general public member 2002-2002, and on invitation of Commissioner filled newly established RN member position for 2002. Responsible for reviewing workers compensation treatment parameters, legislation, and community issues and making recommendations to the Commissioner.
  • 1992 Present Certified Occupational Health Nurse Specialist, American Board of Occupational Health Nurses
  • 1974 Present Registered Nurse
  • 1974 Present Public Health Nurse Certification

Honors:

  • 2009 The Academic Health Center Academy for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning serves as the highest recognition of excellence in the AHC educational mission.
  • 2009 University of Minnesota School of Nursing. 100 Distinguished Nursing Alumni.
  • 2008 MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) Award for Exemplary Online Learning Resources – MERLOT Classics 2008 for “Outbreak at Watersedge” development team: Debra Olson, Mary Hoeppner and Amy Scheller; funded in part through the Midwest Center for Life-Long-Learning in Public Health 2004 (DOlson, PI) grant #5D20-HP00021-03-01 from the Health Resources and Services Administration, DHHS, Public Health Training Center Program.
  • 2007 Class of Fellows. American Association of Occupational Health Nurses instituted to recognize occupational and environmental health nurses who have made significant contributions to the field of occupational and environmental health nursing in the areas of clinical practice, education, research, management, or policy. Fellows comprise a group of leaders who provide vision to advance the skills, knowledge, and abilities of occupational and environmental health nurses, influence formation of policy, contribute to research and exemplify highly effective management and clinical practices. Awarded Orlando, Florida April 18, 2007.
  • 2005 Health Resources and Services Administration BHPr Associate Administrator’s Achievement Award in the category of “Improving the Public Health Workforce.” Washington DC, June 2, 2005. For demonstrated exemplary leadership, outstanding skills and dedication to the education of America’s health professionals. These efforts have resulted in substantial improvements, advancements, support, and/or expansion of health profession education. They have created and nurtured collaborative projects/programs with other BHPr grantees, HRSA grantees, community-based organizations, and/or educational institutions. These recipients have shown leadership in leveraging resources to accomplish something greater than any one organization could achieve.
  • 2005 Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health by virtue of scholastic achievements in research and teaching including the qualify of publications. Membership of the Pi Chapter at the University of Minnesota.
  • 2003 University of Minnesota Thank a Teacher Award. “In appreciation from your students for your teaching style, curriculum choice, evaluation technique or for the fact that you showed concern that your students learn.” Center for Teaching and Learning Services, University of Minnesota. From students in PubH5201 Issues in Environmental and Occupational Health.
  • 2002 Charles N Hewitt Creative Teaching Award. School of Public Health, University of Minnesota.
  • 1992 Inaugural Minnesota Occupational Health Nurse of the Year, awarded by the Minnesota Association of Occupational Health Nurses…”in recognition of outstanding service to occupational health through exceptional performance of professional responsibilities in all facets of the nursing specialty”.
  • 1991 Inaugural American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Constituent Association of the Year Award (San Francisco), accepted as president of the Minnesota Occupational Health Nurses…”for outstanding achievements in all program areas.”

Research Interests:

Dr. Olson has both a national and international reputation for her expertise in public health practice, occupational and environmental health and global one health partnerships.  She is also highly recognized for her comprehensive work in competency based- and technology-enhanced learning.  Her doctoral study, “Evaluation of a core curriculum in bioterrorism and emergency readiness, using gaming simulation,” resulted in an invitation by the National Academies of Science, Institute of Medicine, review panel on public health preparedness systems research informing the 2008 FOA on “Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Centers:  A Public Health Systems Approach (PO1)” and the “Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers” both of which Dr Olson received under competitive application through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

She is Executive Director for the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility facilitating global engagement across the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center (2013-present). Executive Director for the Centers for Public Health Education and Outreach, administrative home of multi-disciplinary training initiatives that support expertise — and a venue — for delivery of continuous learning opportunities in public health practice (2000-2011). Particular interests include innovative teaching methods that employ new technologies and involve distance learning.

Selected Publications:

  • Hurley S, Scheller A, Olson DK. “Mobile technology training for a public health response to disasters. (July 2012) e-Book at http://purl.umn.edu/125273 or https://cultivatingchange.wp.d.umn.edu/. Secured project support as PI, co-developed concept.
  • Olson DK, Hoeppner MM, Scaletta K. Peck M. Newkirk R. “Games, simulations and learning in emergency preparedness: a review of the literature” (Spring 2012) American Journal of Disaster Medicine, Vol. 7, No. 2. pp145-154. Secured funding, conducted initial literature review as part of the DNP and U-SEEE PERRC grant initiative as PI, contributing author.
  • Hoeppner M, Olson, D, Larson S.  “A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of an Emergency Preparedness Curriculum”  Public Health Reports vol 125, supplement 5.  November/December 2010, pp 24-32.
  •  Potter M, Miner K, Barnett D, Cadigan R, Lloyd L, Olson DK, Parker C, Rothmey E, Savoia E, Shoaf K.  “The Evidence Base for Preparedness Training: A Retrospective Analysis,” Public Health Reports vol 125, supplement 5.  November/December 2010, pp15-23.
  • Potter M, Olson DK, Wright K, Villanueva T, Burdine J, Smith L, Goldman L.  “Demonstrating excellence in the scholarship o0f practice-based service for public health.” Public Health Reports. Vol 121 (1) July/August 2009.
  • Olson DK, Scheller, A, Larson D, Lindike L and Edwardson S.  “Using gaming simulation to evaluate bioterrorism and emergency readiness education.”  Public Health Reports  May/June 2010. Vol 125 (3). pp. 468-477.
  • Shutske J, Pierquet J, Michel L, Rasmussen R, Olson D. 2008. “Evaluation of food protection and defense outreach education programs.” Journal of Food Science Education, Vol 7(4): 69-77(9).
  • Minicucci LA, Hanson KA, Olson DK, et al. 2008. “A Flexible Approach to Training Veterinarians in Public Health – an Overview and Early Assessment of the DVM/MPH Program at the University of Minnesota.” Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 35(2):166-172.
  • Hoeppner M, Olson, D, Larson S.  “A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of an Emergency Preparedness Curriculum”  Public Health Reports vol 125, supplement 5.  November/December 2010, pp 24-32.
  • Potter M, Miner K, Barnett D, Cadigan R, Lloyd L, Olson DK, Parker C, Rothmey E, Savoia E, Shoaf K.  “The Evidence Base for Preparedness Training: A Retrospective Analysis,” Public Health Reports vol 125, supplement 5.  November/December 2010, pp15-23.
  • Potter M, Olson DK, Wright K, Villanueva T, Burdine J, Smith L, Goldman L.  “Demonstrating excellence in the scholarship o0f practice-based service for public health.” Public Health Reports. Vol 121 (1) July/August 2009.
  • Olson DK, Scheller, A, Larson D, Lindike L and Edwardson S.  “Using gaming simulation to evaluate bioterrorism and emergency readiness education.”  Public Health Reports  May/June 2010. Vol 125 (3). pp. 468-477.  Secured funding, conducted research as part of the DNP, primary writer.
  • Shutske J, Pierquet J, Michel L, Rasmussen R, Olson D. 2008. “Evaluation of food protection and defense outreach education programs.” Journal of Food Science Education, Vol 7(4): 69-77(9).
  • Minicucci LA, Hanson KA, Olson DK, et al. 2008. “A Flexible Approach to Training Veterinarians in Public Health – an Overview and Early Assessment of the DVM/MPH Program at the University of Minnesota.” Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 35(2):166-172.
  • Olson D, Hoeppner M, Larson S, Ehrenberg A, Leitheiser A. 2008. “Lifelong Learning for Public Health Practice Education: A Model Curriculum for Bioterrorism and Emergency Readiness.” Public Health Reports/2008 Supplement/Vol 123: 53-123.
  • Hart P, Olson DK, Fredrickson A, McGovern P. July 2006. “Employer’s Value of Competencies in Hiring decisions regarding Master Degree Prepared Occupational Health Nurses.” AAOHN Journal vol 54(7): 327-335.
  • Olson DK, Atchison C, Leitheiser A, Larson S, Homzik C. “Public Health and Terrorism Preparedness Cross-Borders Issues” Public Health ReportsVol 120/Suppl 1 2005 p76-83.
  • Olson DK, Stedman-Smith M, Fredrickson A “Environmental Health & Nursing: Piloting a Technology-Enhanced Distance Learning Module” (August 2005) AAOHN Journal Vol 53:8 pp 353-359.
  • D Olson, W Lohman. L Brosseau A Frederickson, P McGovern, S Gerberich N Nachreiner ” “Crosscutting Competencies for Occupational Health and Safety Professionals” Journal of Public Health Management and Practice” May-June 2005 vol 11 (3); pp. 235-243.
  • Rasmussen RC, Schermann MA, Shutske JM, Olson DK (2003) “Use of the North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks with Hmong Farm Families Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health 9(4): 265-274.
  • Lundvall A, Olson,D. (2001) Agricultural health nurses: Job analysis of the functions and competencies. AAOHN Journal 49 (7): 336-346.
  • Carlson V, Olson D. (2001) “Technology enhanced learning/distance education: Market survey of occupational health and safety professionals.” AIHA Journal 62: 349-355.
  • Carlson V, Olson D. (2001) “Technology enhanced learning/distance education: Market survey of occupational health and safety professionals.” AIHA Journal 62: 349-355.
  • Olson D, Carlson V. (2000) “Technology enhanced learning for occupational and environmental health nursing.” AAOHN Journal 48(4), 175-184.
  • McGovern P, Kochevar L, Olson D, Nelson,W. (2000) “Evaluating education program impact: the Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety. AAOHN Journal 48(12): 553-562.