In Memoriam: Dr. Feleta Wilson

Photo of Dr. Feleta Wilson
Dr. Feleta Wilson

Feleta Wilson, PhD, MPH, BSN, FAAN (August 25, 1945 - January 29, 2019), a long-standing Wayne State University associate professor of nursing, recently passed away. She will be laid to rest Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 11 a.m. in Greenville, South Carolina.

A local memorial service for Dr. Feleta Wilson will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, February 4 at the Unity Baptist Church (7500 Tireman Ave.) in Detroit.

"Dr. Wilson was a model nurse, outstanding faculty member and fierce community advocate. She embodied the mission of the College of Nursing through her excellence in teaching, research and service," said Dean Laurie M. Lauzon Clabo.

Her research focused on patient education and patient health literacy to reduce health disparities and inequities in vulnerable populations. She was widely published in top tier journals including Western Journal of Nursing Research, Nursing Science Quarterly, Journal of Pediatric Nursing, Reference and User Services Quarterly, and Public Libraries. She also served as Principal Investigator on research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Aging, National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR), and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, as well as a number of HRSA training grants.

Her research contributed to nursing science and made a significant impact at the clinical level where her findings translated into easy-to-read, culturally sensitive educational materials. These tools help nurses assist people with low to moderate levels of literacy to understand their medical diagnoses and treatments.

As a community leader, Dr. Wilson served as Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and member of the Board of Directors of the Detroit Community Health Connection (DCHC), which provides primary health care to un- and under-insured individuals. In 2014, the DCHC named a health center in honor of her service: The Dr. Feleta Wilson Health Center at 6550 West Warren Avenue in Detroit.

While she was passionate about serving the local community and City of Detroit, she was also recognized for her ability to translate and internationally share her urban health expertise. In 2000, she received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach and conduct research at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica where she researched pregnant women's knowledge of childhood immunization at public health clinics and gave educational workshops to over 250 public health nurses across the country.

Honoring her many contributions to nursing, Dr. Wilson was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing in 2011. This honor recognizes the most accomplished nurse leaders who have demonstrated sustained achievements in education, health management, nursing practice and research.

Dr. Wilson received her BSN from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, an MPH from the University of Michigan, a PhD from Wayne State University, and post-doctoral education in the School of Nursing at the University Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

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