Itís been just under a year since Diana McIntosh, PhD, joined UCís College of Nursing, but the former vice president of clinical services with the Hamilton County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board has already made her mark.
On May 1, McIntosh was awarded the Nursing Excellence Ė Leadership Award from InterAct for Change and Deaconess Associations Foundation.
McIntosh serves as coordinator of the UC College of Nursingís new psychiatric mental health post-masterís certificate program, which welcomed its first class of students this spring. She spent 20 years in UCís psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience department, seeing patients at Central Clinic, and still works through Central Clinic each week at its downtown Court Clinic Alternative Interventions for Women program.
Psychiatry and mental health positions fill your resume for at least the last 30 years. What makes you so passionate about mental health care?
"My passion began when I was getting my bachelorís in nursing. I learned as a psychiatric nurse the most therapeutic tool I had was myself. I was excited to learn more about me so I could help patients to grow and recover. Now I am excited to listen to a personís story and watch them learn about themselves. It is a privilege working with or on behalf of persons who have a mental illness. Unfortunately, there is still stigma about mental illness. My passion is to break down the stigma and get the best possible treatment for persons with mental illness, be it through direct care, administration, research, teaching or policy.Ē
Tell us a bit about what drew you back to the University of Cincinnati.
"I had a very positive experience with the people who work at UC, particularly the College of Medicine, College of Nursing and Central Clinic. That made it easy to think about coming back. I was given the opportunity to coordinate a brand new program for masterís prepared nurses to gain competency in mental health. I like working with others to build programs and I like teaching.Ē
You are coordinator for the psychiatric mental health post-masterís certificate program. Can you talk about the program and why it was started?
"This psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program was started to address a need for integrated (medical and psychiatric) care of underrepresented and underserved individuals with severe mental illnesses complicated by chronic medical co-morbidities. The program prepares nurses who already have master's degrees to add advanced psychiatric skills to their scopes of practice, positioning them to do therapy and to prescribe and manage psychiatric medication for individuals of all ages with psychiatric conditions.Ē
What did it mean to you to win the Nursing ExcellenceĖLeadership Award from InterAct for Change and Deaconess Associations Foundation?
"For a moment, I could not believe it. I know there are many deserving nominees for this award. Just to be included in a group of such outstanding nursing leaders is an honor unto itself. It meant a lot to me that the selection committee was comprised of some nurses and that my peers chose me to be the recipient. I was surprised and grateful that a social worker had recognized my leadership skills and nominated me. I was appreciative of everyone who wrote letters of support. I felt humble and pleased.Ē
On a more personal note, tell us a bit more about you and what you like to do in your spare time?
"I am married, have two children and three grandchildren. In my spare time, I have fun with the grandchildren and work in my flower garden. I also love to travel with my husband, and will be taking a trip this summer to see the U.S. Southwest area. My heritage is Scot-Irish. Last year I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful countries of Scotland and Ireland. My first trip overseas was in 1981 when I visited China with my husband who was majoring in Chinese studies. It was truly a unique and wonderful experience.Ē