Temple University

Top Watermark

Alumni Q&A: A 360-degree view of nursing and community health

This alumni spotlight is part of our celebration of the Temple BSN program’s 50th anniversary. Read more stories here.

Terri Lipman’s current list of professional roles could, arguably, rival some people’s entire career. A 1975 graduate of Temple’s bachelor of science in nursing program, Lipman is the Miriam Stirl Endowed Term Professor of Nutrition, assistant dean for community engagement, program advisor for the pediatric acute nurse care practitioner program and professor of nursing for children at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research is focused on racial disparities in children with endocrine disorders.

In the practice setting, Lipman is a nurse practitioner in the Division of Endocrinology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and is involved with community engagement projects in West Philadelphia. She’s also working with Temple University on a collaborative project with Children’s Hospital.

Lipman discussed the hows and whys of being involved in so many areas at once. She also highlighted her community health endeavors and the significance of Temple University for her entire family.

You have a significantly long list of professional titles. Is it a challenge to balance all those different roles?

Each aspect of my role informs the other. The questions from my clinical practice inform my research, and my clinical practice always informs my teaching. Everything is circular. Although it is very busy, I find that each component of my role builds upon the others. This is the best role I could have.

You also have funding from the National Institutes of Health to work with communities in West Philadelphia?

The funding is for an academic community partnership to increase activity in youth and their families. It ensures that the voice of the community is central in developing the strategic plan to increase access to physical activity.

The research team had a successful conference in April. We presented data from our focus groups, photo-elicitation project and work groups as we move forward ensuring our plan is a truly collaborative, integrative process.

What was the photo-elicitation project?

We approached community members and took photographs of them in their environment related to physical activity, and then we asked them to speak about their environment. For instance, they could describe a park as one where they take their children to play, or one that is unsafe. This way, we could understand the neighborhood from the perspective of the community.

How long have you been working with these communities?

I have been engaged with the West Philadelphia community since 2005, but my community engagement with my students and with my research, and now with my practice, has really been evolving. As assistant dean of community engagement in the School of Nursing, I oversee the strategic plan for community engagement in the school. I continually strive to increase faculty, student and inter-professional engagement in the community.

Community health and engagement are hallmarks of Temple’s BSN program. Is that something you feel you’re bringing from Temple to another university?

Absolutely. For many years I was also a nurse practitioner at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. The engagement and commitment to the community at Temple, and later at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, is something that was instilled in me. That was certainly the foundation and the basis for my commitment to the community and also my commitment to addressing social determinants of health.

Currently, I am an investigator in collaboration with the Temple Community Health Worker Program for a new project at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that integrates community health workers into the care of children with diabetes. I felt when we made the decision to collaborate with Temple, that I was “back home” because I have such deep roots with Temple.

My mother, father, brother, husband and son all graduated from Temple University. For my son, I was really able to articulate the tremendous benefits of a Temple education.

Posted:  October 11, 2017