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School of Nursing Instructors Recognized as Region's Best

by Maggie Rotermund
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For the eighth time in nine years, a Saint Louis University nursing professor was named the region’s top nursing educator when St. Louis Magazine handed out its Excellence in Nursing awards on Thursday, April 19. SLU swept the category’s nominations this year.

Excellence in Nursing

Finalists for St. Louis Magazine's 2018 Excellence in Nursing awards are, from left, Devita Stallings, Ph.D., Cathy Koetting, D.N.P., Helen Lach, Ph.D., and Michelle Papachrisanthou, D.N.P. Photo by Ellen Hutti.

"The School of Nursing is fortunate to have wonderful faculty members acknowledged for their masterful teaching," said Teri Murray, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing.

Nursing professors Cathy Koetting, Helen Lach and Devita Stallings were named finalists in the nursing educator category. Michelle Papachrisanthou was named a finalist in the pediatrics – non-neonatal category. 

Lach was named the educator of the year. In a St. Louis Magazine story, she said the university setting is ideal for her because it marries her two passions: research in geriatric nursing and educating other nurses. 

In addition to the honors for full-time faculty, adjunct nursing instructor Cindi Silvey was named a finalist in the emergency department category for her work at St. Luke's Hospital. Ten of the other finalists were educated at SLU School of Nursing. 

In 2017, SLU's Kristine L’Ecuyer, Ph.D., associate professor, was named the top nurse educator in the region. In 2016 the honor went to Deborah Loman, Ph.D., APRN, CPNP. Loman, an associate professor of nursing, coordinates the Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PNP) graduate specialty.

More than 200 nurses were nominated for St. Louis Magazine's nursing excellence awards. A team of six judges from outside the St. Louis area narrowed the field to 57 finalists in 19 categories. The winning nurses are profiled in the magazine's May issue.

Cathy Koetting

Cathy Koetting, D.N.P, is an assistant professor who teaches clinical courses in pediatrics, psychiatric mental health, pharmacology and health care.

She has worked as a primary care provider to children and adults in vulnerable populations. She is trained in child protection and forensic nursing.

Koetting believes in educating nurses to be leaders in health care. 

"Nurses should be at the table helping to guide the discussion on health care," she said. "What we do crosses so many areas, nurse leaders are invaluable assets to improving health care systems."

Helen Lach

Helen Lach, Ph.D., professor of nursing, joined Saint Louis University School of Nursing in 2002. She teaches gerontological nursing, as well as content on health promotion, disease prevention and disease self-management. 

"We don't have enough people going into gerontological nursing, and with the aging population, I don't know if we'll ever have enough health care practitioners with those skills," she said. "But it is so important. With hospital patients skewing older, nurses need to have the skills to care for older patients."

Lach researches falls and injuries in older adults, with a special interest in fear of falling. She is interested in theory-based interventions to improve older adults’ and caregivers’ awareness and self-management of these concerns.

Devita Stallings

Devita Stallings, Ph.D., is an assistant professor teaching public health nursing, community/public health nursing, pathophysiology, gerontology and clinical skills.

Stallings said she enjoys the opportunity that public health nursing provides her to connect with her community.

"Community health nursing is really working with people where they are," she said. 

Her research interests include self-management of cardiovascular diseases, especially hypertension, in African-Americans. She completed her doctoral dissertation in the area of understanding African-American women's perception of hypertension and lifestyle behaviors.

"Our nursing students are our future leaders," she said. "I hope that my classes help to open up their eyes and give them the opportunity to see life through a different lens."

Michelle Papachrisanthou

Michelle Papachrisanthou, D.N.P, is an assistant professor who teaches Master’s level students in the Nurse Practitioner program. She is also the course coordinator for Advanced Health Promotion.

Papachrisanthou is a pediatric nurse practitioner in primary care, serving predominately low income or medically underserved pediatric populations. She emphasizes the importance of growth, development, and the support of family and community surrounding the child.

"I really never thought I would be teaching," she said. "I enjoyed working in my practice. But it is really amazing how many lives you touch by teaching. Now the students have once taught are my colleagues at Cardinal Glennon."

SLU School of Nursing celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2018. The school created the first accelerated B.S.N. and comprehensive online M.S.N. programs in the country.

In 2016 and 2017, the school received federal grants that will provide mentoring and help SLU’s School of Nursing increase the recruitment, enrollment, retention and graduation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, especially for students who are African American or Hispanic/Latino.

In 2018, the school received a gift totaling $8.4 million from the estate of alumna Mary K. Hoppe. The generous gift – the largest in the School of Nursing’s history and among the largest in the University’s history – will be used to create the Dr. and Mrs. Robert C. Hoppe Endowed Scholarship, which will assist multiple students in every program offered at the school.


Founded in 1928, Saint Louis University School of Nursing has achieved a national reputation for its innovative and pioneering programs. Offering bachelor's, master's, and doctoral nursing programs, its faculty members are nationally recognized for their teaching, research and clinical expertise.