The Commander Lura Jane Emery Lecture

University of Maryland School of Nursing Dean's Lecture Series header

A Legacy of Military Service

UMSON's founder and first superintendent, Louisa Parsons, served with the British Army and was awarded the Royal Red Cross, the highest honor of its kind. She laid the foundation for future UMSON nurses, who served in every major military engagement since the Spanish-American War in 1898. Learn more.

The Commander Lura Jane Emery Lecture

Military Service as a Determinant of Health

April 26, 2018
4-5:30 p.m. (reception to follow)
University of Maryland School of Nursing
Auditorium, Room 130

Travel and Parking

headshot of Brig. Gen. William T. Bester, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, FAANBrig. Gen. (Ret.) William T. Bester, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
Senior Advisor
Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare

While military personnel may score highly on positive determinants of health such as physical fitness, physical activity, and body mass index, there are service-related psychosocial factors and experiences that can also impact health outcomes. 

Compared to civilian populations, veterans and National Guard/Reserve personnel experience higher incidences of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, while active-duty military members are more likely to report smoking and heavy alcohol consumption.

Brig. Gen. (Ret.) William T. Bester, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, this year’s distinguished lecturer, will discuss how military service represents a determinant of health, the importance of educating health professionals on veteran-specific care, and how best to identify the veteran population.

This lecture has concluded.

Additional Information


3:30 p.m. Registration
4 p.m. Welcome/Announcements
4:15-5:30 p.m. Lecture
5:30-6:30 p.m. Reception

About the Speaker

Brig. Gen. William T. Bester, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, FAAN, currently serves as the Senior Advisor for the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program. Prior to taking his current position, he served as Acting Dean of the Graduate School of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University (USU) from June 2006 to December of 2007, Vice President for External Affairs at USU from 2008 to 2012 and was USU’s Acting President for six months in 2011. He also had a short assignment as the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs in 2011.

Bester holds a BSN degree from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota and an MSN from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Nurse Anesthesia Program at Madigan Army Medical Center.

His distinguished 32 year career in the U.S. Army culminated with his selection as the 21st Chief of the Army Nurse Corps. While serving the Army as its Nursing Service Chief, Brigadier General Bester was also assigned as the Assistant Surgeon General for Force Projection and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Health Policy and Services (2000-2002) and as Commander of the Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (2002-2004).

Highlights of earlier assignments include sole anesthesia provider for the Cuban Refugee Operation at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas (1980); Chief Nurse of the 67th Combat Support Hospital during its deployment (1995) to Taszar, Hungary in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, later serving as Medical Task Force Commander with responsibility for all medical assets in Hungary and Croatia; and Commander, Moncrief Army Community Hospital, Ft. Jackson, South Carolina (1998-2000).

As a Professor of Clinical Nursing at the University of Texas, Bester was asked (2005) to be Director of Nursing for a health care team, organized by Project Hope, to assist the victims of the tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.  He is a sought after lecturer on topics of nursing and health care leadership and disaster relief. He is the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award from Catholic University (2001), the Sister Alice Lamb Alumni Award from the College of St. Scholastica (2002), Luther Christman Award (2005), New York University’s Agnes and Rosemary Ludden Award for Innovative Nursing Practice (2013) and two honorary doctorates: College of St. Scholastica (2001) and Seton Hall University (2003). His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, three Legion of Merits and four Meritorious Service Medals. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. He is a member of the California Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, the Military Officers Association of America, Sigma Theta Tau International and the Association of the United States Army.


Upon completion of the presentation participants will be able to:

  • identify the effect of military service on health
  • apply strategies for identifying those who are serving and have served in the military
  • discuss initiatives to address the serious challenge of homelessness among the veteran population
  • develop strategies for educating health professionals on veteran-specific care.

Continuing Education

Accredited Provider with Distinction from the American Nurses Credentialing Center

Nurses may receive 1.5 contact hours for participating in this educational activity.  Partial credit is not provided. Participants receive a CNE certificate via email from UMSON approximately two to four weeks after submitting their request, a signed attendance verification form, a completed evaluation form, plus a fee of $20. All requests must be received within 60 days of the conference.

Accreditation Statement: The University of Maryland School of Nursing is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.  

Conflict of Interest: It is the policy of The University of Maryland School of Nursing to require our continuing education activity (CE) faculty and planning committee members to disclose any financial relationships with companies providing program funding or manufacturers of any commercial products discussed in the program.  The planning committee and CE faculty report that they do not have financial relationships with manufacturers of any commercial products they discuss in the program.

Lecture History

During her academic career at the School of Nursing in the late 1970’s, CMDR Lura Jane Emery, MS ’79, recognized a need for nurses with advanced education. This eventually led her to create the Lura Jane Emery Nursing seminars endowed fund.

Prior to attending the School, Emery had a long and successful career in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps, where she served for 27 years. Upon retirement from the Naval Hospital in Annapolis, Md., she received credit for 30 years of service. Emery’s military career began in November 1947 when she started working as an Ensign at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Newport, R.I. After two years, she was transferred to the U.S. Naval Hospital, San Diego, Calif. She was subsequently ordered to duty on the U.S.S. Repose AH16 at Hunters Point, in San Francisco, Calif.  In 1950, Emery was called to Pusan, Korea; she spent the next 19 months caring for those injured in the Korean War. “As soon as I arrived there, I treated patients with smallpox, brain injuries, and missile wounds close to 20 hours a day,” she recalls. “It was a tremendous experience. The most memorable moment was when our ships were traveling up the river near Incheon with armed Chinese troops lining the banks.” Fortunately, she says, “When they saw the red crosses on the side of our ships, they dropped their guns—not one shot was fired. That was indeed a miracle.”   

When her military career ended, Emery wasn’t sure what her future would hold. “After I retired from the Navy in 1974, I felt lost, but becoming involved in nursing again helped ease the transition,” she says. She returned to Maryland and received her master’s degree from the School of Nursing in 1979. Each year, Emery’s fund supports a scholarly lecture presented. “When nurses have a good education,” she says, “they can easily advance in their field.”