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The distinctive character of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is defined by the faculty's demonstrated capability to fulfill the values of the Teacher Scholar Philosophy; a philosophy guided by a serious and continuing commitment to teaching, scholarship and service in the belief that scholarship complements and enriches excellence in teaching and service.

Adapted from the Teacher Scholar Philosophy of SIUE, Teacher Scholar Philosophy Working Group, 6/2/08

Dr. Laura Bernaix

Professor, Department of Family Health & Community Health Nursing

Research Focus:
"My primary program of research centers on breastfeeding promotion; specifically, her studies have explored the nurse’s role in support of the breastfeeding family and have tested interventions designed to improve breastfeeding outcomes in the postpartum and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) settings. Additional research interests include prenatal lead exposure, adolescent pregnancy, obesity and physical activity in women across the lifespan, and children’s perceptions of nurses."

Dr. Laura Bernaix

Recent Honors / Awards / Recognition:

2007 Co-Author, Research Paper of the Year Award, MCN: American Journal of Maternal-Child Nursing

April, 2006 Awarded the SIUE Teaching Excellence Award

July 2003 Fellow for the Institute of Urban Research – SIUE

April, 2003 --2003 Association for Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN) Hill Rom Maternal-Child Nursing Award

Primary Courses Taught:

N354 - Care of Women & Childbearing Families (didactic and clinical practicum)


Ph.D., St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO (1995)

M.S.N., University of Evansville, Evansville, IN (1986)

B.S., Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL (1978)

How does SIUE support your professional growth or activity as a Teacher-Scholar?
" I have received invaluable support from SIUE for my activities as a Teacher-Scholar.  Internal grants, such as the Funded University Research (FUR) Award, Summer Research Fellowships (SRF), Excellence in Undergraduate Education (EUE) Awards, and the Excellence in Graduate Education (EGE) Award, have provided me with the support to establish my program of research and/or to implement creative ideas into my teaching.  In addition, the collegial atmosphere at SIUE has allowed me to collaborate and learn from a very diverse faculty and staff. These enriching experiences and opportunities have helped me become a better academician and scholar."

What is a unique aspect of your professional life that enhances your service to the academic or greater community?
" Maternal-newborn nursing is a passion of mine; I have worked in this area for 29 years and am deeply committed to improving the health of pregnant women, new mothers, and newborns.  My program of research and all other professional activities focus on this goal. I try to impart my enthusiasm for this area of nursing to my students, hoping that my passion will rub off on them."

How has one mentor or event shaped your career decision to become a university professor?
I actually have two mentors who shaped my career decision to become a university professor. My grandfather was a Professor of English Literature and French Language for over 30 years at Monticello College (now Lewis and Clark Community College) in Godfrey, Illinois. I remember him telling me how much he enjoyed helping his students become proficient in these two subjects and the time he devoted to his faculty role. I would frequently meet his students when I went to his office after school, and although I was only school-age, I was impressed with the reciprocal relationship he had with his students. They learned from him and he learned from them. I knew back then that no matter what specific career path I would pursue, I would want to eventually include teaching as a part of it.

My second mentor has been and continues to be Dr. Cynthia Schmidt, faculty in the School of Nursing.  Although she probably hates me to remind her, she was my Pediatric nursing instructor during my undergraduate nursing program.  I remember that her enthusiasm for nursing and her compassionate teaching style reinforced my inner desire to become a university professor.  She served as my role model and someone who I wished to emulate eventually in my career."

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