Christine Bryant Times Correspondent
Keeping the community safe and healthy has been Jodi Allen’s primary focus since becoming a nurse.
For those who know her, it’s no surprise when she was asked to serve on an important committee during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The goal: to safely bring Purdue Northwest staff and students back to campus during an ongoing health crisis.
In nursing, Allen says clinical decisions are made based on the best available evidence, but healthcare specialists lacked this information because COVID-19 was a new virus. Instead, Allen had to rely on available data, her experience as a nurse practitioner, and her desire to protect the community when making recommendations to the task force.
“I used a lot of known information about coronaviruses in general, basic infection control, epidemiology knowledge, and closely tracked infection rates in our area,” Allen said. “When we were approached about increasing vaccination rates in Indiana State, I knew that vaccinating our campus community would increase the odds of keeping the PNW community safe as well as our surrounding community. .”
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She started by hosting 12 vaccination clinics at the end of the Spring 2021 semester, focusing on students, staff, faculty and their families. On the first day, volunteers administered 800 vaccines. This number quickly grew, reflecting Allen’s desire to serve and help others.
“She is committed to the health of our communities, especially the most vulnerable and underserved,” said Lisa Hopp, Dean of PNW’s College of Nursing. “She demonstrates this commitment every day and especially during the pandemic when she led and supervised 22 vaccination clinics at Purdue Northwest and helped administer the 3,000 vaccinations she and other volunteers administered.”
For that and more, Allen won the popular vote in The Times of Northwest Indiana’s Nurses: The Heart of Health Care poll.
She is Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program and Assistant Professor at the College of Nursing at Purdue Northwest. She is also a Family Nurse Practitioner with the Community Hospital System and Sojourner Truth House, which provides assistance to homeless and at-risk women and their children.
At Purdue Northwest, Allen helps educate hundreds of primary caregivers so they can then serve Northwest Indiana and beyond.
It’s a bit of a homecoming for Allen, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as his doctorate, at what was then Purdue Calumet. She began her career at Munster Community Hospital as a nurse practitioner for three years, followed by five years at Franciscan Health. She then moved on to full-time teaching and part-time practice.
“I’ve always wanted to keep people out of the hospital by providing quality primary care and focusing on health promotion and disease prevention,” Allen said. “I have enjoyed taking care of families over the years.”
Once she decided to pursue her doctorate in nursing, she knew she wanted to focus on vulnerable and underserved populations where she could improve health equity in the Region.
“I also pursued my doctorate to ensure that I was most effectively able to teach future nurse practitioners to be excellent nurse practitioners who were safe, careful and capable of providing care and improving the health of our community in northwest Indiana,” she said.