Keynote presentation: Every one Has a Story: Listen Hold Gratitude and Love


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Dr. Kellie Smith, Assistant Professor in the Jefferson School of Nursing, has been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer that has metastasized. In her address, she will share her personal story—her realization that she has been given the gift of seeing, acknowledging, and accepting her own mortality, which is at the same time both “downright scary” and liberating in the inherent freedom that it brings. She will also share the insights that she has gained over the past 13 years of teaching, how her passion for helping people, listening to and encouraging them, led her into teaching, what her passions are now, and what is next. Her CV tells the story of scholarship, drive, and determination, but her address will over-lay it with significant life events, because they are just as important.

Dr. Smith’s personal pedagogy is grounded in John Dewey’s philosophy of meaningful activity. She wishes that she had more energy, vibrancy and time to explore new ways of learning, for she believes that we are on the edge of a precipice in education, health care and technology. Her core teaching principles are truth, respect and kindness (power should not be involved, but demand excellence), encouragement (everyone needs a champion, a cheerleader) and instilling confidence (which is the key to success). In her words, “Life happens, and should, but if we as educators still keep perspective and keep moving forward, our students will benefit. My motto, which has served me well, is to always live in the moment, to keep swimming, and always hold gratitude in your heart.”

Kellie Smith, EdD, RN, is an Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), Jefferson School of Nursing (JSN). She has taught across many levels of nursing education including RN-BSN, undergraduate and graduate nursing since 2002. Dr. Smith has been involved with JSN’s initiatives into the development and usage of interprofessional educational technologies and online instruction. She has developed, implemented, and evaluated courses in both hybrid and online learning formats, for both graduate and undergraduate programs. Dr. Smith is committed to supporting fellow faculty in interprofessional educational technology competencies and online instruction and using technology as an educational medium.

Dr. Smith’s background is in public health research where she was the Philadelphia site Program Coordinator/ Co- Investigator for the Diabetes Prevention Program, a NIH/ NIDDK sponsored Type 2 Diabetes prevention clinical trial. Dr. Smith has published and presented at national and international conferences on the topics of Interprofessional Education (IPE), educational technology, and faculty development. She coauthored, The Advanced Practice Nurse in the Community text chapter in M. Stanhope & J. Lancaster’s Public Health Nursing: Population-Centered Health Care in the Community (9th ed.). She also co-published IPE curriculum to the AAMC’s electronic MedEdPORTAl entitled, A Computer Supported Interprofessional Education Initiative: Using Technology to Advance Interprofessionalism.

Dr. Smith has served on many University, College, and School committees, such as a Jefferson’s Center for InterProfessional Education’s (JCIPE) Evaluation Workgroup, JSN’s Nurse Executive Council, and Thomas Jefferson University’s Academic IT Advisory committee. She was also elected as an Executive Board Member of the New Jersey Public Health Association.

Dr. Smith has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the JSN Alumni Emerging Leader Award, the Dean’s Faculty Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding teaching, research, and service, and most recently, the James B. Erdmann Award for Excellence in Interprofessional Education. In addition, Dr. Smith has mentored many faculty and students, formally and informally, with regular positive feedback.

Presentation: 47 minutes

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