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Marlene Wilken, RN, PhD

Assistant Professor

Creighton University School of Nursing

Member of Douglas County Board of Health, Omaha, NE

Omaha, NE


Marlene Wilken , RN, PhD is a tenured assistant professor at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.. She teaches classes in public and community health and supervises students in their community clinical rotations. In addition to teaching nursing for over 30 years, she has also worked as a nurse in a variety of settings including public health, home health, hospice, and hospitals. Her community service includes being a member of the Douglas County Board of Health since 1999, a board member of the Public Health Association of Nebraska (PHAN), co-chair of the State Association of Local Boards of Health Section of PHAN, member of the Turning Point Stakeholders Group since 1999 and member of the Nebraska Educational Alliance for Public Health. She continues to work on EH issues in the state.


She earned her baccalaureate degree in nursing from the University of Nebraska and her Masters in Nursing from Montana State University. Her doctorate from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln is in Political Science with a focus on health policy. Her presentations at international, national, regional, and local conferences are the result of her membership in the following professional organizations: the American Public Health Association, American Nurses Association, Nebraska Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Society, American Political Science Association and the Public Health Association of Nebraska. She has also published numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Leadership Development Opportunities

I really did not know what to expect from my participation in the EPHLI.  During the orientation in Atlanta, I spent a great deal of time wondering how and if I would fit in with the rest of the group since I am not an environmental health professional per se. My personality type took over and I consciously sought out individuals in the group who I thought could help me find my niche or at least make me feel better about being there. By the end of the week, I had found a sufficient number of individuals with whom I could relate, but left Atlanta with huge questions and doubts about using, let alone understanding, systems theory and how it was to be used in my project.


The time in Louisville gave me a renewed appreciation for the complexities of EH emergency preparedness and also provided me with information that I could use in the classroom, at board meetings, and in community service settings.  During that week I was fortunate to be able to continue dialogue with a couple of individuals I got to know in Atlanta. We shared our feelings of frustration and doubts about our respective projects. The sharing gave me a sense of hope. The week in St. Louis was better because there was more time to spend with folks I had met in Atlanta. Exchanging stories of work and personal lives, as well as discussions about the speakers and their messages was relaxing and somewhat reassuring for me.


I left St. Louis with a feeling that by the time I wrote the final project, my personal leadership development would finally become clear to me. Now that the final project is written and I am composing this reflection, I realize that like other extensive and intense endeavors I have undertaken, the meaning and significance of the experience may not become apparent to me until sometime further in my travels down the road of life.