Deupree selected for highly competitive national nurse fellowship

School of Nursing assistant professor will participate in world-class, three-year leadership development program designed to enhance effectiveness of nurse leaders.

joy dupree2The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has named Joy P. Deupree, Ph.D., one of 20 executive nurse fellows for 2014.

Deupree, an assistant professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, joins a select group of nurses from across the country chosen to participate in the final cohort of this world-class, three-year leadership development program designed to enhance the effectiveness of nurse leaders working to improve the U.S. health care system.

“The magnitude of this program is overwhelming and exciting at the same time,” Deupree said. “From speaking with past fellows, I anticipate it will provide me with the guidance and support to take on projects that are more challenging and significant, not only in Alabama, but nationwide.”

Executive nurse fellows hold senior leadership positions in health services, scientific and academic organizations, public health and community-based organizations or systems, and professional, governmental, and policy organizations. They continue in their current positions during their fellowships, and each develops, plans and implements a new initiative to improve health care delivery in her or his community. The fellowship is supported through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Started by RWJF in 1998, the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program strengthens the leadership capacity of nurses who aspire to shape health care in their communities, in their states and nationally. The program will provide Deupree and her colleagues with coaching, education and other support to strengthen their abilities to lead teams and organizations working to improve health and health care.

Deupree holds senior leadership positions in health services, scientific and academic organizations, public health and community-based organizations or systems, and national professional, governmental, and policy organizations. Her leadership has affected a number of organizations, including the Alliance of International Nurses for Improved Health Literacy — which she founded.  

“Throughout my life I have been fortunate to have been mentored by tremendous leaders who encouraged me to work hard and seek out opportunities to be a leader. Whether it was in service to a nonprofit or through my employment as a nurse or faculty member at UAB, I have been nurtured by some of the best, and that led me to this most prestigious fellowship."

Deupree also is the senior adviser for policy for the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama, the professional association that represents the interests of more than 3,000 certified registered nurse practitioners in the state. Deupree and five colleagues began working in 2006 to establish the NPAA to spearhead efforts to reduce practice barriers for advanced practice registered nurses in Alabama, and to strengthen relationships among health care provider and other interest groups statewide and laws for all of nursing in the state.

Deupree returned to college in her early 30s to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing, all while she and her family owned and operated several successful family businesses.

“I had dreamed of being a nurse since high school, but life got in the way,” she said. “I was fortunate when I returned to school that I had complete support from my entire family as I began my journey to become a nurse practitioner. In the years that have passed, I have been very fortunate to live my dream of helping underserved populations. I have never been more committed than I am today, and the need has never been greater.”

Deupree was president of NPAA from 2012-2013, championing the passage in the Alabama Legislature of SB224 that improved the scope of practice for nurse practitioners; The new law created an avenue for nurse practitioners to have access to the Patient Drug Monitoring Database and to prescribe controlled substances.

Deupree says, once her fellowship is complete, she hopes to utilize what she has learned to make positive changes for the health of Alabamians and bring along the state’s next generation of nurse leaders.

“Throughout my life I have been fortunate to have been mentored by tremendous leaders who encouraged me to work hard and seek out opportunities to be a leader,” Deupree said. “Whether it was in service to a nonprofit or through my employment as a nurse or faculty member at UAB, I have been nurtured by some of the best, and that led me to this most prestigious fellowship."

Deupree says she cannot thank her mentors enough, and she hopes to pay their influence forward.

“With my passion and eagerness to learn how to be a better leader, armed with the support of my employer and those I represent through nonprofit work, I believe I can play a significant role over the next decade and beyond as Alabama seeks solutions for the many health care disparities we face.”

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