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Melissa Kurtz 11 M.A.R., Joint Degree (Nursing)
Gainesville, FL, B.S., University of Florida; B.S., Berry College; M.A., Reformed Theological Seminary, Anglican

I am originally from Gainesville, FL, home to one of the best college football teams! Before entering Yale, I earned degrees in nursing, chemistry, and biblical studies and worked for eight years as a neonatal intensive care nurse at two urban tertiary care centers in Florida.  KurtzIn addition, I spent one year working in community development studying gentrification within Orlando, FL neighborhoods and the revitalization of these urban communities. Currently, I am a joint Master’s degree student, pursuing a Master of Arts in Religion (Ethics Concentration) at Yale Divinity School, and a Master of Science in Nursing (Nursing Management, Policy and Leadership) at Yale School of Nursing. My Yale studies focus on relationships among children's health care issues, policy advocacy, and the ethical delivery of quality health care.

“At Yale Divinity School, I have the opportunity to explore both theological and biomedical ethics, determining how each relates to the implementation of biomedical practices.  In addition, my studies in ethics provide a valuable lens through which to view the effects of health care practices on health care providers and recipients.”

At Yale Divinity School, I have the opportunity to explore both theological and biomedical ethics, determining how each relates to the implementation of biomedical practices.  In addition, my studies in ethics provide a valuable lens through which to view the effects of health care practices on health care providers and recipients.  As a joint degree student, I am afforded both academic and practical experiences in nursing and religious studies.  For instance, as part of my degree requirements, I have participated in internships at institutions like the Hastings Center in Garrison, NY, a non-profit research institute that explores issues related to policy and bioethics.  While interning at the Hastings Center, I drew from my practical nursing knowledge in order to inform projects related to children’s health care and end-of-life issues.  Interestingly, some of these projects included a theological element.  One project focused on the development of materials related to the incorporation of bioethics into the theological education and training of future clergy.  Another examined the role of hospital chaplains in the delivery of pediatric palliative care.  With my joint degree background, I was able to offer input on these projects, and thereby champion effective ministry to ill children, as well as their family support systems.  Following graduation, I hope to continue my work on bioethical issues in a healthcare, policy or academic setting.

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