Points of Pride

Distinguished Alumna Joanne Disch

Disch JoanneDuring a nursing career spanning more than 30 years, Joanne Disch, PhD, RN, FAAN, has held numerous positions in clinical and academic nursing, but she has always maintained a strong commitment to professional organizations—including serving as a member of the board of the American Academy of Nursing and as a committee chair with the American Nurses Association. Her most recent board position, however, might be her most high-profile yet—chair of the board of AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, one of the largest and most influential interest groups in the country.

Disch, who is the director of the Katharine J. Densford International Center for Nursing Leadership at the University of Minnesota, earned her master’s degree in cardiovascular nursing from the UAB School of Nursing in 1976 and is the 1994 recipient of the SON’s Distinguished Alumni Award. She joined AARP’s board of directors six years ago and in 2006 ascended to the position of the board chair, where her two-year term ended this past May. She says casual observers might be surprised to find out just how vital her nursing background was to her chair duties.

“Nurses are very skilled at quickly assessing situations on a short time frame, coming up with possible solutions, getting along with a wide variety of people, and seeing what’s going to work for the average person,” she explains. “Some of my colleagues were senior VPs, very prominent people, but I think nurses can help shape policy so that the average person understands it and supports it.

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Dee Grant receives Jo Ann Barnett Award for Compassionate Care


Adelia Grant HRThe childhood beginnings of Dee Grant’s interest in health care were less than romantic: “When anyone ever went to the emergency room, when anyone was every hurt, I wanted to go with them and see what happened,” she remembers. “I was just all into it.”

Her entrance into neonatal nursing, however, came not from curiosity but from compassion. Her natural sense of empathy—combined with her experience working alongside her missionary parents in a hospital in Indonesia—confirmed what she had suspected since she was just a little girl: Grant had a calling to be a nurse, and her soft touch made her ideal for the tiniest and most vulnerable patients.

That compassion and soft touch also made her a natural recipient of the Jo Ann Barnett Award for Compassionate Care, granted by the School of Nursing chapter of the UAB National Alumni Society to recognize nurses who “exemplify the best in nursing care.” In her nomination letter, colleagues described Grant as “a constant example of what a professional nurse should be. Her commitment to patient care, quality, and dedication demonstrated toward her babies and their families is impeccable.”

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Karen Morin - 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

The School of Nursing Chapter of the UAB National Alumni Society presented to the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award to Karen H. Morin, DSN, RN, ANEF. Morin earned her DSN at the UAB School of Nursing in 1987. “My education at the UAB School of Nursing provided the foundation upon which I have continued to develop my leadership abilities,” Morin notes, “I am forever grateful for that foundation and for the incredible honor of receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award.”

Morin began her career as a nurse educator teaching undergraduate courses in maternal-child health nursing, research, leadership, and management. She currently teaches graduate courses at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she serves as both a professor and director of the PhD program. Additionally, she serves as president of the Sigma Tau International—a post she has held since 2009. Morin previously served as a director of Sigma Tau International and president-elect.

She has received national recognition for her teaching expertise, including the Excellence in Nursing Education Award from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses in 1999 and the Excellence in Teaching Award for the National League for Nursing in 2003. In addition, she has been inducted into the National League for Nursing’s academy of Nursing Education Fellows (ANEF).