Melody Eaton Ph.D., R.N.

School of Nursing

Dr. Melody Eaton received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing from James Madison University in 1984; her Master’s of Business Administration degree from The George Washington University in 1991; and her Doctor of Philosophy in nursing degree from George Mason University in 2004. She has studied the effectiveness of home health care related to a change in health policy, and is published on this related topic in The Journal of Nursing Administration, and Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice. Dr. Eaton served in the role of Chair for the Legislative Coalition of Virginia Nurses for two terms, focusing on grassroots lobbying for nursing education funding and her advocacy work is also published in Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice.

Her interest in health policy stems from work with health care reimbursement in different delivery systems and recognizing the drivers for health policy cost, quality and access to care. She recognizes the fact that our legislators need our assistance in understanding what health policy changes mean to practice and patient care. Dr. Eaton’s vision for the HPC is to bring students, faculty, and the greater community (all stakeholders) together to guide health policy decisions that benefit Virginia citizens.


Maria deValpine R.N., M.S.N., Ph.D.

School of Nursing

Dr. Maria deValpine holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration & Policy, with a minor in Medical Anthropology, from Portland State University. As a public health nurse, program manager, evaluator, and policy analyst in Virginia, Oregon, and Alaska, she developed a longstanding interest in public policy, equitable health policy, and health disparities.  As a faculty member at Oregon Health & Sciences University, the Oregon Masters of Public Health consortium program, and the University of Alaska, she developed curriculum and research in health disparities and population health for the benefit of students. She is pleased to return to Virginia to teach public health and health policy at JMU and is particularly inspired to be part of the Interprofessional Health Policy Collaborative. Recognizing that policy is the most far-reaching health intervention, she hopes to inspire students at all levels to understand, explore, and advocate for healthy health policy at school, in the community, and eventually in the world at large.


Julie T. Sanford D.N.S., R.N.

School of Nursing

Dr. Sanford is Professor and Head of the School of Nursing in the College of Health and Behavioral Studies at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She has over 20 years of experience in nursing education at the Baccalaureate, Masters and Doctoral levels. Dr. Sanford earned her BSN from the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL; her MSN from the University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL; and her DNS from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA. Her research and publications primarily focus on informal caregiving, stress, gerontology, and the use of technology in nursing education.  Dr. Sanford’s grant writing efforts have resulted in over $4.5 million in funding.  Currently, as Department Head, she is responsible for the undergraduate and graduate programs at James Madison University, a top ranked public regional university in the South by US News and World Report. Dr. Sanford has overseen expansion of the BSN program by 50 percent and the initiation of the DNP program. She is the Vice-President of the Virginia Association of Colleges of Nursing, serves as a CCNE visitor, state grassroots liaison and is on the BSN Conference Planning Committee.  


William Grant Ph.D.

Department of Economics

Dr. William Grant graduated from Davidson College in 1997 with a B.A. in Economics, and earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina in 2004.  After completing a post-doctoral fellowship in Health Economics at Duke University, he joined the faculty at JMU in 2006.  His interest in joining the Health Policy Collaborative stems from his experience working with a wide variety of health policy stakeholders, including healthcare providers, public and private research organizations, and insurers.  In the local health policy community, Grant works with RMH-Sentara Hospital and with the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services.  He hopes to contribute to the Health Policy Collaborative’s capacities for (i) spreading health policy awareness in JMU’s student body and the regional community and (ii) bringing new data to bear on important health policy questions.


David Cockley Dr.PH

Department of Health Sciences

David E. Cockley Dr.PH, 1996 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, teaches as an associate professor of Health Services Administration focusing on health policy at JMU. He also teaches at EMU-nursing, and EMU-Adult Degree Completion Program in health administration and health policy. He became interested in the Health Policy Collaborative through building and teaching several interdisciplinary courses in health policy. His interests in the present collaboration is to highlight for undergraduate students the increasing need for an interdisciplinary focus on health policy in many sectors of the U.S. healthcare system, including rural health, physician practice and Accountable Care Organization development.


Jamie Lee M.S.N., R.N., C.N.L.

School of Nursing

Professor Jamie Lee holds a Master’s Degree in nursing from the University of Virginia with a major in Health Systems Management.  Her clinical background is in rural healthcare and emergency nursing, where she witnessed first-hand the impact of poor access to care, stimulated an interest in reducing health disparities and improving health equality through nursing advocacy.  She has taught a Transition to Practice course at JMU for the past six years and through this course educates and empowers the next generation of nurses to be socially, professionally and politically active.  


Laura Hunt Trull M.S.W.

Department of Social Work

Laura Trull received her Bachelor of Social Work from James Madison University, Master of Social Work from University of Minnesota and is a current PhD candidate in the JMU School of Strategic Leadership Studies.  She teaches Social Policy in the Department of Social Work, among other courses.  She has a background in Head Start and her health interests center around comprehensive services for economically disadvantaged groups.  With the many opportunities for social workers in healthcare settings, Ms. Trull hopes to inspire students to engage in the various paths in healthcare from micro-level interventions to national and international advocacy.


Marshall Patti

Dr. Marshall Pattie is an associate professor of management at James Madison University.  His research and teaching interests focus on successfully managing employees.  He has 15 published peer reviewed articles that focus on expatriates, ethical leadership and human resources.  At JMU Marshall is the College of Business Civic Engagement Fellow, a member of the Civic Engagement Team, and is the advisor to the JMU College Republicans.  He is serving as an Augusta County Board of Supervisor (R) since 2012, and is the treasurer for the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.  Marshall obtained is undergraduate degree at Texas Christian University, an MBA at George Washington University and his Ph.D. at University of Texas at Arlington.  Marshall also has experience as a business process risk consultant and work as a human capital consultant. 


Becky Bowers-Lanier

Dr. Becky Bowers-Lanier is the President of B2L Consulting, LLC, specializing in consulting with health care and education non-profits on advocacy strategy and grassroots advocacy development. Becky has over 20 years of experience as a staff nurse and nurse educator and 22 years of experience in health policy and advocacy. Becky began her advocacy journey as the president of the Virginia Nurses Association from 1996-2000. She is the co-editor of State Nursing Workforce Initiatives, a 2006 winner of the American Journal of Nursing’s best book award. She is also the author of Nurse’s Grant Writing Advantage, a 2012 publication of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Becky holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s in public health from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a doctorate in higher education from the College of William & Mary.


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