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Marsha H. Adams

Marsha H. Adams, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN

BSN 1977, MSN 1983, PhD 1992

Dr. Marsha Adams is raising the standards of excellence in the field of nursing and health care and transforming educational practices in nursing in her current role as dean and professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Nursing. Under her leadership, the UAH College of Nursing has seen the renovation and expansion of the College of Nursing building; moved the undergraduate program to a concept-based curriculum; and the RN-BSN and MSN-Nursing Administration curricula were revised to meet the ever changing healthcare delivery system. Dr. Adams also led the College through successful CCNE accreditations for the independent Doctor of Nursing Practice program in 2017 and for all programs in 2019.

Dr. Adams has been nationally recognized for her innovative partnership program, KidCheck Plus, which brings nursing programs and community partners together to improve the health of Alabama’s children while providing opportunities for nursing students to engage in innovative prevention and health promotion activities that support population health. In 2008, 13 nursing programs participated and screened 17,063 children, and by 2020, the program had expanded to include nursing programs throughout five states with screenings performed on more than 100,000 children. This program serves as a demonstration project for national implementation.

Dr. Adams has developed two publications, The NLN Excellence in Nursing Model and the Hallmarks of Excellence in Nursing Education, that have been said to challenge nurse educators to “question current practices and envision new possibilities.” In addition, Dr. Adams has served as co- editor and co-author to a book entitled, Achieving Excellence in Nursing Education (2009). Her model of excellence in nursing education has been disseminated in numerous peer-reviewed publications and presentations at the state, national, and international level.

Dr. Adams is a Fellow of the Academy of Nursing and an inductee in the Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame.


Janet S. Awtrey

Janet S. Awtrey, PhD

PhD 1980

Dr. Janet Awtrey’s nursing career spans over three decades with specialties in clinical nursing and administration. In 1975, Dr. Awtrey was among one of the first 100 nurses in the United States who began the discussion of the identification and classification of nursing diagnoses, which is still being used as the framework of many nursing school curricula today.

Dr. Awtrey was a trailblazer in telemedicine by being chosen to teach in a live video conference in one of the first telecommunication events sponsored by the UAB School of Nursing in the late 1970s. Dr. Awtrey then joined the UAB School of Nursing in 1969 as an instructor and through her dedication to leading the next generation of nursing leaders and her innovation in telemedicine research and teaching, worked her way to being named Dean of the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama in 1989. Under Dr. Awtrey’s direction, the Capstone College of Nursing became known as a leader among divisions on campus and the modified outreach graduate program with the School of Nursing grew, making graduate education accessible to many nurses in the West Alabama region. Upon her retirement from the Capstone College of Nursing, faculty and friends established the Janet S. Awtrey Distinguished Nurse Leader Award, an annual award to the individual who exemplifies stellar professionalism and leadership.

Dr. Awtrey has had an impact on the community and nation as well by serving leadership roles in various nursing and health care organizations. Notable roles were serving as President of the Alabama’s Nurses’ Association and the Alabama Board of Nursing where she was appointed by then Governor of Alabama, George C. Wallace. She is an inductee of the Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame.


Dawn M. Aycock

Dawn M. Aycock, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAHA, FAAN

PhD 2012

Dr. Dawn Aycock is currently an associate professor and director of the PhD program in the Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions at Georgia State University (GSU). She was the first GSU nursing faculty in over 10 years to receive a National Institutes of Health (NIH) K award and has had two abstracts rated in the top 10% of abstracts for the International Stroke Conference by the American Stroke Association resulting in support to present this work at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. In April 2018, she received first place for her original research moderated poster presentation at the Preventative Cardiovascular Nurses Association. Dr. Aycock’s notable research projects centered around reducing the risk of strokes, especially in the African American community.

Dr. Aycock is an ambassador for many national associations, but most notably the American Stroke Association (ASA)/American Heart Association (AHA). Since 2015, Dr. Aycock has served as vice chair, and now chair of the AHA State-of-the-Science Stroke Nursing Program Committee that is responsible for a full day of high level programming for over 700 health care professionals linked with the International Stroke Conference, the premier conference dedicated for the science and treatment for cerebrovascular disease. She has held numerous positions as a member of the AHA Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing Council (CVSN). She has been a member of the CVSN Diversity Task Force, Nominations Committee, and now is on the CVSN Program Committee.

Dr. Aycock is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a Fellow of the American Heart Association.


Natalie R. Baker

Natalie R. Baker, DNP, CRNP, ANP-BC, GNP-BC, CNE, GS-C, FAANP

BSN 1985, MSN 1990, DNP 2010

Dr. Natalie Baker has dedicated the last three decades to the nursing profession and inspiring students and colleagues through her service, practice, and teaching. Dr. Baker has rendered distinctive service through her leadership in the adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner specialty track at the UAB School of Nursing while also maintaining leadership roles in state and national organizations. As nurse practitioner national certifying bodies transitioned from an adult focused to adult gerontological focused scope of practice, Dr. Baker developed geriatric curriculum for the UAB School of Nursing that provided students with knowledge to care for the aging population through the end of life. Dr. Baker has mentored and taught over 500 graduate students in the adult-gerontological specialty area at the UAB School of Nursing.

In addition to teaching students, Dr. Baker has developed numerous gerontological resources for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to use in daily practice. She was one of three authors of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association’s Gerontology Resources for APRN Preceptors and Students. This toolkit has been disseminated through publications and national presentations and accessed by thousands of APRNs, educators, preceptors, and students.

She was one of three nurse practitioners selected to serve on the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence’s Expert Panel. She was one of two NPs invited to mentor international nursing regulators participating in the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s Institute of Regulatory Excellence Fellows Program. She has achieved Fellow status by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and was twice recognized by AANP as Alabama’s Advocate State Award for Excellence recipient. In 2020, Dr. Baker received the Alabama State Nurses Association’s Cindajo Overton Outstanding Nurse Educator Award.


Connie Barden

Connie Barden, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, FAAN

MSN 1982

Connie Barden has been a trailblazer in tele-medicine and world health. She is currently the Chief Clinical Officer at the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses where she leads a team that ensures the organization is engaged and focused on issues that influence the care that critically ill patients receive as well as the welfare of nurses who care for them and their families, not only in this country but throughout the world.

Following earning her MSN from the UAB School of Nursing in 1982, Barden accepted a role as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Miami, Florida where she introduced tele-ICU into the Baptist Health System and was the only known CNS in a tele-ICU in the United States at that time. She led the expansion of tele-ICU to include tele-stroke, tele-psychiatry, and eICU expansion beyond the Baptist Health System.

Barden is recognized internationally for her work related to the environment in which critical care nursing is delivered. Her publications and presentations reflect this focus beginning with her Presidential Address at the AACN National Teaching Institute in in 2013 in which she exhorted nurses to use a bold voice in creating a healthy work environment. She has consulted with many groups and organizations, including the National Academy of Medicine, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, to transform hospital culture to promote patient safety. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.


Thomas W. Barkley, Jr.

Thomas W. Barkley, Jr., PhD, ACNP-BC, ANP, FAANP

PhD 1994

Dr. Thomas Barkley is currently the President of Barkley & Associates, Inc. in Los Angeles, California where he coordinates and oversees educational resources for nurse practitioners continuing their education. Before starting his own company, Dr. Barkley was a well-respected educator and mentor who was known for his impact not only on nurse practitioner students preparing for certification, but also the formal education for graduate and undergraduate students while on faculty as an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the California State University School of Nursing in Los Angeles, CA.

During his 26 years in academia, Dr. Barkley held numerous leadership positions including Coordinator of the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program, Director of Nurse Practitioner Programs, Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, and Director of Graduate Programs.

Dr. Barkley is also a highly recognized and esteemed author who has written over 100 published works related to acute care nursing practice, nursing education, and multicultural HIV/AIDS prevention, including refereed articles and book chapters. He has worked as the editor of Practice Considerations for Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners and the editor of four additional nurse practitioner specialty texts. His gift for writing allows the reader/student to truly understand the concepts being disclosed. In 2001, Dr. Barkley won the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award for his role as Primary Editor in the book “Practice Guidelines for Acute Care Nurse Practitioners.”

In 2019, Dr. Barkley was inducted into the Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame for his contributions to the field of nursing and to the role of the nurse practitioner. He is a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.


Velinda J. Block

Velinda J. Block, DNP, RN, NEA-BC

DNP 2010

Through her vision of improvement, interprofessional collaboration and patient centeredness, Dr. Velinda Block, has been a trailblazer for bedside nurses by striving to have their voices heard.

Over her career that spans almost 40 years, Dr. Block has improved the quality outcomes for patients by implementing strategic plans to lower the risk of infections as Division Chief Nurse Executive at TriStar Health; led efforts aimed at improving patient experience which resulted in the hospital moving from the 19th percentile to the 81st percentile as Chief Nursing Officer/Senior Associate Vice President at UAB Hospital; and provided executive leadership to hospital-wide efforts to improve employee satisfaction which resulted in achieving a score of 82% on the question of “How satisfied are you as an employee?” as Vice President of Patient Care Services at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Through her leadership and drive for improving health care, Dr. Block has improved the lives of not only the patients, but also the nurses who work under her leadership.

Dr. Block has also given several presentations about leadership in health care, employee engagement, and improving the relationship between nurses and leadership. Dr. Block’s leadership spans more than the workplace. She has served as several different roles for different organizations and boards across the United States. Some of those include Sigma Theta Tau, Birmingham Region Organization of Nurse Executives, and Nashville Ronald McDonald House. Dr. Block serves on the UAB School of Nursing National Advisory Council.


Elizabeth V. Carlson

Elizabeth V. Carlson, PhD, RN

MSN 1976

The common thread in Dr. Elizabeth Carlson’s storied career has been to serve as a leader and push innovation in nursing to the next level. During her time as a clinical leader at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, Dr. Carlson was instrumental in the development, buy-in, and implementation of the Rush Professional Nursing Staff model. More than traditional shared governance models, the Rush Professional Nursing Staff model is based on the premise that a nursing governance structure should be parallel to and commensurate in influence with the model used for the medical staff of the organization. Dr. Carlson wanted the workplace to be as if all nurses, including frontline nurses, were viewed as full partners in the organization and not just helpers on the frontline. For more than 35 years, this structure has amplified the voices of nurses and others at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and served as a national model for which other organizations have emulated in their work to attain Magnet designation. Due to the overwhelming success of the Rush Professional Nursing Staff model, Dr. Carlson travelled the world to countries such as Japan, South Africa, Britain, Ireland, and even throughout the US to provide consultation to teams and hospitals.

Within academia, she has developed innovative tracks in executive leadership and population health which have become national models. Because of her recognized expertise, she was invited to serve on the American Organization of Nurse Leaders (AONL) Nurse Executive Population Health Competencies Task Force and became lead author of the Task Force’s report. With the assistance of colleagues at Rush University College of Nursing (RUCON), Dr. Carlson created the Rush Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Project Model that was highlighted in the 2015 report of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing as a national model for DNP projects.


Eileen R. Chasens

Eileen R. Chasens, PhD, RN, FAAN

PhD 2000

Dr. Eileen Chasens has made numerous contributions to the field of nursing through her role as a faculty member and researched adding to the body of knowledge in the area of sleep. She has devoted her career to linking the effects of sleep disorders and daytime sleepiness with chronic diseases. Dr. Chasens has over 80 published articles covering the sleep disorders, diabetes, and breathing habits. She is currently Professor and Department Chair at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

Dr. Chasens teaches evidence-based research classes to the undergraduate students and to the master’s level students, in addition to teaching doctoral students. Dr. Chasens guest lectures in courses taught at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral level in the School of Nursing and in interdisciplinary courses within the schools of health sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.

She serves on the BSN and PhD Councils, the PhD Curriculum Committee, and the Academic Integrity Hearing Board. Dr. Chasens has served as Chair of the Evaluation and Steering Committee, BSN Curriculum Committee, and the School of Nursing Planning and Budget Committee. She is a member of the Eastern Nursing Research Society and serve on the Membership Committee and is the chair of the Bio-Behavior Research Interest Group. She serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of The Diabetes Educator and is a member of the American Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau International, and the Sleep Research Society. Dr. Chasens was inducted in 2015 as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.


Caroline V. Coburn

Caroline V. Coburn, DNP, MS, APRN, ANP-BC

DNP 2013

Dr. Caroline Coburn has devoted her teaching career to producing nursing leaders and ensuring the next generation of nurses have the tools to succeed. Dr. Coburn has made significant contributions to numerous aspects of nursing education primarily through leading the development of innovative courses and programs. Examples of this include the development of one of the nation’s first Ambulatory Nursing courses for our pre-license students. This has led to multiple scholarly opportunities, and she is the primary editor of the textbook “Perspectives in Ambulatory Care Nursing.” She has recently written a manuscript on use of high-fidelity simulation in undergraduate ambulatory care nursing course in Nursing Education Perspectives.

Dr. Coburn is currently Clinical Assistant Professor at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. In addition to her teaching, she has also been instrumental in the development of the SON-Atlanta Veterans Administration Health System Partnership for both prelicensure and graduate programs. For the past few years, she has maintained a faculty practice in the Atlanta VA Heart Failure clinic and has been a significant contributor to the Veterans Administration Health System Partnership Residency program for advanced practice nurses. Dr. Coburn is recognized for her use of innovative teaching methods including simulation and interprofessional education. In addition to her publications, she has provided national and international presentations on her work on preceptor development and practice in cardiac rehabilitation, as well as ambulatory care.

Outside of education, Dr. Coburn’s leadership has included serving as president of the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International and as a National Conference Delegate. She has served as a member and team lead for the Taskforce for the Development of Guidelines for Academic-Practice Partnerships, in the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing.


Coleman Jennifer

Jennifer J. Coleman, PhD, RN, CNE, COI

BSN 1976

Dr. Jennifer Coleman is currently Professor at the Samford University Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing. With countless presentations and publications, Dr. Coleman is committed to promoting diversity in the field of nursing. Dr. Coleman is a lifetime member of National Black Nurses Association and helps recruit nurses to become members while encouraging them to use their knowledge and talents by serving on National Black Nurses Association’s standing and ad hoc committees. For several years, Dr. Coleman has served as abstract reviewer for the National Black Nurses Association’s Annual Institute and Conference while also reviewing submissions, offering comments, and providing suggestions to authors on how to strengthen the content of their abstracts. Dr. Coleman has made numerous podium presentations covering diverse topics that offer continuing education units at the National Black Nurses Association Conference.

Dr. Coleman has also held leadership roles with one being president of the Birmingham Black Nurses Association, a National Black Nurses Association chapter. During her presidency, Dr. Coleman increased visibility and membership of the chapter locally and on the national level and received several national awards, including recognition as the chapter with the most impact on community service activities. She has also served on the National Black Nurses Association Scholarship and Awards Committee and the National Black Nurses Association Conference Committee. Dr. Coleman was recently appointed to the editorial board of the Journal of the National Black Nurses Association. The Journal of the National Black Nurses Association is a peer-reviewed, scholarly, research journal published twice a year. She is paving the way for the next generation of minority nurses throughout the United States through education and her mentoring.


Connor Ann

Ann Connor, DNP, RN, FNP-BC

BSN 1977, MSN 1980, DNP 2013

With a career spanning 41 years, including 30 years at her current role as Emeritus faculty at Emory University, Dr. Ann Connor has made lasting and innovative contributions to nursing and health care. Dr. Connor has dedicated her professional career to supporting underserved populations and has worked with the homeless population since 1981 through clinics and volunteer work.

In 1988, she co- founded Cafe 458, a restaurant for people who are homeless, and it was operated by, trained, and served homeless individuals. Highly successful, Café 458 was a remarkable resource in the community and became an important clinical learning site for nursing students at Emory University. Her work related to homelessness and her teaching has been honored numerous times including the 2003 Georgia Nurse of the Year Award, AJC Nursing Excellence Award, Crystal Apple Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Nursing Education, and the Jean Thomas Award for Creativity in Teaching. She also received the Emory Williams Teaching Award in 2017, one of Emory University’s most prestigious teaching honors, for her excellence in teaching and mentoring undergraduate students.

Dr. Connor has also dedicated her career to improving health literacy and was recognized as a Health Literacy Hero by the Georgia Nurses Association in 2013. Her publications on this topic are found in textbooks and manuscripts around the country. Dr. Connor holds several nursing leadership roles including being a member of the Executive Board of Directors of the Georgia Alliance for Health Literacy and Secretary of the Alliance of International Nurses for Improved Health Literacy.


Cooke Cindy

Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP

DNP 2013

Dr. Cindy Cooke is an experienced nurse, nurse practitioner, and educator who has made an impact on the local, state, and national level. In her nursing career, Dr. Cooke has provided primary care to patients in need for 18 years, and for over 12 years exclusively to active duty and retired military members and their families as a Sexual Assault Clinical Provider and Family Nurse Practitioner in the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

Dr. Cooke’s leadership in the field of nursing spans back to 2002 when she was the Vice President for Programs in the North Alabama Nurse Practitioner Association. Since then she has held several different leadership positions on a local, state, and national levels including Founding President of the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama, member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners White House/CDC Antibiotic Stewardship, and currently as a member for both the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. Dr. Cooke served as the President of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners from 2015-2017.

Dr. Cooke is currently leading the next generation of nursing leaders at University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota as Adjunct Faculty for the MSN‐DNP program. She has also been recognized for her outstanding achievements both in the field of nursing and for her leadership throughout the organizations in which she has been elected. Some notable honors and awards include the University of Mary Graduate Nursing Excellence in Instruction Teaching Faculty Award in 2019, being inducted as a Fellow by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville Graduate Faculty Award for Academic Excellence in 1998.


Cuellar Norma

Norma G. Cuellar, PhD, RN, FAAN

PhD 1997

Dr. Norma Cuellar is a trailblazer within the Hispanic/Latino community by empowering a whole generation of Hispanic/Latino nurses to continue their education and advance their professional growth. She is currently Professor at the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing. As the Principal Investigator of the BAMA-L program, a HRSA workforce diversity grant, Dr. Cuellar was able to support over 80 associate degree Hispanic/Latino nurses to earn their baccalaureate degrees and continue with their graduate education.

As President of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN), Dr. Cuellar was instrumental in obtaining funding as Principal Investigator of five “Latino Provider Influencer Initiatives” of the All of Us Research Program totaling $593,000. This effort led to participation of members from over ten NAHN chapters to apply for and receive sub-awards to educate and promote Hispanic/Latino U.S. residents to participate in research. Through this effort, members’ professional growth was advanced through gaining knowledge about grant application process, lack of diversity in research, importance of collaboration with community organization to reach specific populations, and effects of genetics on health. Professional advancement was further enabled through a manuscript that was co-written by Dr. Cuellar and six-chapter presidents, and the opportunity to present at the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science in 2019.

Dr. Cuellar is currently working on a research grant from the Pfizer Foundation that looks into the COVID-19 pandemic in the Hispanic/Latino community in the United States. Dr. Cuellar has committed selflessly to advancing professional development and diversity of the nursing workforce as well as advancing the health of Hispanic/Latino population through her remarkable research and the All of Us Research Initiative. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.


Culpepper Goode Patricia

Patricia Goode Culpepper, MD, MSN

MSN 1977

Posthumous honor

From a volunteer at a nursing home as a teenager until her untimely death in 2020, Dr. Patricia Goode Culpepper devoted her life and career to caring for elderly patients and teaching healthcare professionals how to care for a population of vulnerable individuals. She was Professor Emerita at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, Senior Scientist in the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, and Investigator for the Veterans Affairs Birmingham/Atlanta Education and Clinical Center. From 1993-2016, she educated, guided, and mentored a whole generation UAB healthcare students, residents, and fellows, including our UAB graduate nursing students; and ultimately received UAB's Department of Medicine Outstanding Division Teacher in Geriatric Medicine award on three occasions: 1997-1998, 1998-1999, and 2001-2002.

Throughout her nursing career, Dr. Culpepper was loyal to her passion for incontinence and pressure ulcer prevention and management. From 1992-2018, Dr. Culpepper served as the medical director for UAB's Continence Clinic where she was instrumental in establishing the first clinic exclusively dedicated to incontinence treatment and research in the state of Alabama. The UAB Continence and Urogynecology Care Clinic was the first clinic to receive The National Association for Continence Center of Excellence in 2010. Having been first introduced to this field as a nurse, Dr. Culpepper received 44 funded grants over her lifetime to study incontinence and pressure ulcers.

Dr. Culpepper published 131 peer reviewed articles, co-authored 19 books, and authored numerous print and video educational resources. Her first two book chapters were published in “Principles of Ostomy Care.” This book was selected as the 1982 Book of the Year by America Journal of Nursing. While serving on the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, Dr. Culpepper co-authored educational slides such as Pressure Ulcer Basics, Pressure Ulcers-Prevention Basics, and Pressure Ulcers-Treatment Basics, to be used as educational resources for healthcare professionals.


Curry Glenda

Rt. Rev. Glenda S. Curry, PhD

MSN 1979

Dr. Rev. Glenda Curry had a vision toward a goal of service, leadership, and innovation within the field of nursing. Dr. Curry became the first woman to lead a four- year college in the state when she accepted the role as President of Troy University-Montgomery campus. Under her leadership, Dr. Curry transformed the campus consisting of gravel parking lots to an expanded downtown campus plaza and new buildings that accommodated the working students who attended college primarily at night. Her legacy remains on the campus where there is an area named the Curry Commons. Prior to her service at Troy-Montgomery, Dr. Curry served on faculty at the UAB School of Nursing and was instrumental in helping establish the School of Nursing’s Board of Visitors. After serving at the UAB School of Nursing, Dr. Curry went on to serve as dean of the Troy State University School of Nursing.

In 2002, Dr. Curry answered her call to enter the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. In her first church, Church of the Epiphany, Leeds, Alabama, Dr. Curry established a chapter of the Order of the Daughters of the King, a service order for women within the Episcopal Church centering on prayer, service, and evangelism. Her leadership and vision for serving people led to the development and implementation of Vision 2010, which was a strategic planning effort to improve staff, programming, children's formation, and youth ministry resulting in increased engagement, membership, and Christian outreach. The culmination of Dr. Curry's storied career and vision toward a goal of service was being elected as the first woman to serve as an Episcopal Bishop in any of the five Deep South states. In this role, she serves the 30,000 Episcopalians in Alabama in 88 parishes.


Davis Sheila

Sheila P. Davis, PhD, RN, NP-C, LSM-BC, FAAN

MSN 1984

Dr. Sheila Davis has distinguished herself as a nursing health care provider, teacher, academician, researcher, grantsman, and entrepreneur during a span of 40 plus years.

Early in her career, Dr. Davis and another colleague explored granny midwifery practice in rural Alabama. These learnings are described in a 1992 publication on role of granny midwives. She advanced to become Director and Chairperson of the Associate and Baccalaureate Nursing programs at Oakwood College. She completed personal and institutional goals during this four-year period. Thereafter, Dr. Davis utilized her intellect and leadership at two institutions in Mississippi. She pursued education, certification, and licensure as a family nurse practitioner as well as a provider of natural remedies and lifestyle medicine in health care.

In 2018, she became founder, co-owner, and provider at the Natural Way Family Health Clinic in Byram, Mississippi. Additionally, she developed a virtual, interactive health education multi-session program. Dr. Davis’s cognizance of the need for multiple health education delivery routes is seen in her work with a public television network; local and international mission work of health teaching and screenings in El Salvador, Central America and Cape Town, South Africa as well as invited podium presentations in Hohhot, China and Paris, France.

Dr. Davis’s professional trajectory has included numerous publications, presentations, and grants in areas such as developing and increasing the healthcare workforce and diversity within in it; influence of finances and insurance on access to and quality of health care; use of distant learning technology; ethical issues; culturally appropriate care; and obesity. Dr. Davis’s career has earned her recognition as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, Cambridge Who’s Who Among Executive and Professional Women in Nursing and Healthcare, and an appointment to National Institute of Health Social Sciences, Nursing, Epidemiology, and Methods Study Section.


Davis Tearsanee

Tearsanee C. Davis, DNP, APRN-BC, FAANP

DNP 2010

Dr. Tearsanee Davis has dedicated her career to patients in rural areas and innovative solutions to widespread lack of health care. She is a national and international subject matter expert on telehealth initiatives to improve access to care in rural areas, improved outcomes, and reduced healthcare costs. Dr. Davis was selected as the first nurse practitioner to serve as a Mississippi Rural Health Fellow where she has direct access to the governor and state legislators to effect change in legislative policies in Mississippi.

Dr. Davis’s leadership and research has had direct impact in diabetes care and mental health through innovative telehealth initiatives in Mississippi as well as across the nation. Her expertise in coordination of telehealth across Mississippi has been extremely valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Davis has taken her leadership and knowledge to universities at multiple levels across the nation to introduce students as well as experienced providers in the implementation of telehealth across health care. She has presented her rural tele-healthcare work before multidisciplinary groups and conferences nationally and internationally.

Dr. Davis currently serves many leadership roles in different committees including Mississippi Telehealth Association, American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Telehealth and Health Association Rural Health Fellow and the American Nurses Association. In 2020, she received the AANP State Award for Excellence for demonstrating excellence as a nurse practitioner and was honored as an AANP Fellow. Dr. Davis has three publications which span nurse practitioners in e-Health and telemedicine to telemedicine in rural Mississippi that have garnered recognition with numerous awards.


Dawson Martha

Martha A. Dawson, DNP, RN, FACHE

BSN 1976, MSN 1984

Dr. Martha Dawson has distinguished herself as a leader in the profession of nursing by demonstrating tremendous advocacy for diversity among nurses and serving as a mentor to the next generation of nursing students improving the quality of their research. Her work has been recognized on a local, regional, national, and international level for improving and supporting the health for all Americans particularly those underserved, underrepresented, and uninsured and seeks to eliminate health care disparities for all.

In 2019, Dr. Dawson was elected president of the National Black Nurses Association and has devoted her time to the Friends of National Black Nurses Association Campaign to increase diversity in nursing from an international/global perspective. The Friends of National Black Nurses Association Campaign supports efforts to increase the baccalaureate nurse population in the Republic of Haiti. Her involvement in this campaign has helped raise over $30,000 to support students through this organization.

Some of Dr. Dawson’s most notable awards include receiving the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award and the Dean's Mentorship Award from the UAB School of Nursing. In 2017, Dr. Dawson received the American Organization of Nurse Executives Prism Diversity Award, which recognizes an individual who has advanced diversity efforts within the nursing profession, the community, or within the individual’s organization for which they are a leader. Finally, a crowning and most significant achievement and one of the highest distinctions in Alabama nursing, Dr. Dawson was inducted into the Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame in 2019, an award reserved for the most successful and accomplished professional nurses who have roots in Alabama. She is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.


Deupree Joy

Joy P. Deupree, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC

BSN 1994, MSN 1997

Dr. Joy Deupree has had a prolific professional career with more than 25 years of experience in health policy, health literacy, nursing practice, education, publications, research, politics, and community service. Dr. Deupree has been shaping the next generation of nursing leaders since 2008 when she accepted the role of assistant dean at the UAB School of Nursing. In her role as assistant dean, she collaborated with others to develop the Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway and the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, and successfully led the office of Student Affairs through a 10-year accreditation. In 2019, Dr. Deupree was the Consortium Principal Investigator for the UAB Department of Preventive Medicine where she led the development and creation of all printed materials to ensure understandability, actionability, culturally and linguistically appropriate messaging for Deep South Network for Alabama and Mississippi. She also created policy briefs to advocate for legislative change to address social determinants of high-burden chronic diseases prevalent in the Deep South Network.

In 2016, Dr. Deupree and colleagues founded the Alabama Health Literacy Initiative that looks to support patient-centered educational opportunities, guide outreach activities, and create partnerships to advance health literacy and improve health outcomes.

Dr. Deupree has received many awards and honors throughout her illustrious career. In 2014, she was named Fellow for Robert Wood Johnson’s Executive Nurse Fellows Program where she helped enhance the effectiveness of nurse leaders’ impact on the U.S. healthcare system. She most recent was selected as Ambassador for the National Institutes for Nursing Research where she advocates to increase funding for nursing research across the nation. She currently serves as Professor and Associate Dean for Practice Innovation, Partnerships, and Policy at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing.


Downes Elizabeth

Elizabeth Downes, DNP, MPH, MSN, FNP-C, CNE, ANEF, FAANP, FAAN

DNP 2013

Dr. Elizabeth Downes has made an impact on many past, present, and future nurses through her teaching, leadership, scholarship opportunities and clinical practice. Dr. Downes currently holds the Betty Tigner Turner Professorship and is Assistant Dean for Graduate Clinical Programs in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. Her teaching excellence is recognized by many and is further documented in her receiving the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, one of Emory University’s highest honors for teaching. For her leadership and expertise in graduate education, she was appointed as the Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs in September 2020 where she provides strategic leadership and vision for the development, implementation, and evaluation of the DNP, MSN, and postmasters programs.

In recognition for her high impact, Dr. Downes was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in 2012, as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the National League for Nursing as an Academic of Nursing Education Fellow in 2017. She has received numerous other awards including induction as a member of Golden Key Honor Society, and the WK McClure Fund for the Study of World Affairs from the University of Tennessee. She is considered by many around the nursing education world as a highly effective role model for students, faculty, and clinicians.

Dr. Downes has authored 2 book chapters and published 7 manuscripts on community health, partnerships, disaster nursing, and international as well as migrant health. In addition, she has worked with the World Health Organization, USAID, the Department of State and as a consultant to the Carter Center, and authored “Educating Health Professionals in Low Resource Settings,” a book that is used as a text for training educators.


Eagerton Greg

Gregory S. Eagerton, DNP, RN, NEA-BC

BSN 1985, MSN 1991

Dr. Gregory Eagerton has strived to advance nursing by advocating for, mentoring, and leading the next generation of male nurses through his work for the UAB School of Nursing and professional nursing organizations. Dr. Eagerton began his nursing career as a nurse within the cardiac intensive care unit for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama where he showed exceptional leadership and mentoring behaviors that resulted in leadership opportunities such as Director of Nursing for Cottage Hill Health Care Center and Coordinator for Birmingham Veterans Affairs. In his role of Associate Director/Patient Care Services for Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Dr. Eagerton orchestrated and established standards for nursing practice for approximately 900 nursing professionals. Under his leadership, he led graduate and undergraduate affiliations to train over 2,000 students each year. These activities contributed to successful grant funding of for Veterans Affairs Nursing Academic Program for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency in collaboration with Duke University School of Nursing.

Dr. Eagerton is a member of the Executive Board for the Birmingham Chapter of the American Association for Men in Nursing (BCAAMN) at UAB School of Nursing. In his role with the BCAAMN, Dr. Eagerton initiated and led efforts in the development of a mentoring program, Nursing in Real Life, that looks to provide an informal, safe environment for male nursing students to meet with other men in nursing with many years of experience to learn more about topics of interest such as crucial conversations, having a “place at the table”, diversity and inclusion, and other professional development topics. These informal mentoring sessions have led to more in depth mentoring opportunities for select students to form stronger relationships among faculty and to encourage others to enter the nursing career.

Dr. Eagerton was inducted into the Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame in 2011.


Engel Joan

Rear Admiral Joan M. Engel, MSN, RN, FAAN

MSN 1981

Rear Admiral Joan Engel served as Director of the Navy Nurse Corps from September 1994 to August 1998. Rear Admiral Engel entered the Navy Nurse Corps in 1969 as a Lieutenant and served in various stateside and overseas naval hospitals, progressing in rank with roles of increasing responsibility. She became deputy director of the Nurse Corps, serving under the Rear Admiral Mariann Stratton, the 17th Navy Nurse Corps director. Rear Admiral Engel has had several clinical nursing assignments around the world that include the Naval Hospital, Millington, TN; Branch Medical Clinic, Iwakuni, Japan; Branch Medical Clinic, LaMaddalena, Sardinia; and Naval Hospitals in Charleston, SC, Jacksonville, FL, Newport, RI, and Pensacola, FL.

Rear Admiral Engel's administrative assignments included being the first junior Nurse Detailer, BUMED; the first Assistant Chief of Staff, Logistics, Naval Medical Command, Northeast Region, Great Lakes, IL; Naval Inspector General staff, Washington, DC, and Naval Medical Inspector General staff, BUMED; and Deputy Director, Navy Nurse Corps, BUMED. Rear Admiral Engel retired in January 2000 as the Assistant Chief, Operational Medicine and Fleet Support, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Washington, DC, a position she held since August 1996.

Rear Admiral Engel has earned several awards and honors throughout her storied military career including the Legion of Merit which is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements; the Meritorious Service Medal which honors those who distinguished themselves by outstanding meritorious achievement or service; and the National Defense Medal with bronze star that is awarded to members of the US Armed Forces who have served during any one of four specified periods of armed conflict or national emergency.

Rear Admiral Engel is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She was named UAB Distinguished Alumni Award recipient in 1998.


Fahs Pamela

Pamela Stewart Fahs, PhD, RN

PhD 1991

While serving several educational and leadership roles at the Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Binghamton University, Dr. Pamela Fahs has led the way for the next generation of nursing students to succeed and push them towards innovation in rural health and nursing. Dr. Fahs’s teaching and scholarship opportunities have strengthened and positively contributed to the discipline of nursing across the nation by striving to lead colleagues and students to develop and disseminate knowledge regarding rural health and nursing as she has built strong research collaborations with others.

Through Dr. Fahs’s visionary leadership, the Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences has been recognized for expertise in rural health, rural populations and rural nursing. In 2007, Dr. Fahs became the first to hold the Dr. G. Clifford and Florence B. Decker Chair in Rural Nursing and continues to hold the position today. In her role as endowed chair, Dr. Fahs works to introduce nursing students at all educational levels to the joys of rural nursing.

Dr. Fahs is a highly decorated leader in the field of nursing for her leadership in education. In 2016, she was presented with the Anna Mae Ericksen Rural Nurse Organization Leadership Award at the Rural Nursing Organization (RNO) International Rural Nursing Conference for her outstanding leadership in rural nursing and the provision of health care to rural populations. In 2017, the UAB School of Nursing recognized Dr. Fahs with the Marie L. O'Koren Alumni Award for Innovation for her innovative contributions to the field of nursing.

Most recently, Dr. Fahs was awarded the Margaret G. Tyson Dean’s Award of Excellence for her many years of service and leadership that has provided the Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences with a positive reputation regarding rural nursing and healthcare.


Flowers Juanzetta

Juanzetta S. Flowers, PhD, RN

BSN 1966, MSN 1983, PhD 1985

Dr. Juanzetta Flowers has left a positive mark on nursing for her leadership, work in combating infant and maternal mortality, lowering death rates from cervical cancer, demonstrating the value of progressive outpatient healthcare, and showing the power of nurses’ involvement as advocates for their profession and for the community. In 1972, she became a member of the first class in an obstetrical-gynecological nurse practitioners training program offered by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the UAB Heersink School of Medicine. After graduating from this program, she functioned as a pioneer nurse practitioner in Alabama who participated in successful teamwork efforts by concerned health professionals to lower Alabama high cervical cancer death rate. The team’s strategy was to make Pap smears and pelvic exams available to Alabama women who had little or no access to healthcare with the goal to diagnose cases of cervical cancer in early stages when they were still treatable. The dedication and inspiring efforts of Dr. Flowers and her colleagues led to Alabama’s cervical cancer death rate dropping during a four-year period from number one to 49th among the nation’s states.

Dr. Flowers became the head nurse in the first private outpatient clinic at UAB to be staffed by UAB physicians – a clinic that became a forerunner of The Kirklin Clinic. She was also the leading UAB School of Nursing faculty member – both from a curriculum-design standpoint and from a teaching standpoint– in health policy. She helped organize and became the first deputy director of the School’s PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center for International Nursing. In this role, she traveled abroad to help improve health status in several of the world’s developing nations. Dr. Flowers served two terms as president of the Alabama State Nurses Association and was a champion early on in fighting for a broadened scope of practice for nurse practitioners and other advanced-practice nurses in Alabama.

Since 1983, Dr. Flowers has completed several research projects that center around labor and delivery, maternal stress, and the political expectations among nurses through the United States. She is currently a member of the Board of Visitors at the UAB School of Nursing.


Fordham Pamela

Pamela N. Fordham, PhD, RN, FNP, FAANP

MSN 1976, PhD 1989

Dr. Pamela Fordham has made a considerable impact in the state, national, and international levels for her role as the founding deputy director of the UAB Center for Palliative & Supportive Care. With the leadership of Dr. Fordham and her colleagues, the UAB Center for Palliative & Supportive Care has become a national leader in the field of palliative and supportive care, with demonstrated leadership in compassionate clinical care, collaborative research, community outreach and training. Her leadership helped contribute a better widespread understanding of the differentiation between palliative care for the seriously ill who may still be receiving curative treatments and hospice care for the terminally ill who are receiving mainly care to provide comfort rather than treatments rendered with a goal of cure. In 2016, Dr. Fordham was among an elite group of recipients of the inaugural Palliative Care Legacy Builders Awards presented by the UAB Center for Palliative & Supportive Care.

Dr. Fordham has had an incredible impact in the UAB School of Nursing as an educator. From 1980 to 2011, Dr. Fordham served as an Assistant Professor for the School of Nursing where she had a helping hand in building the next generation of nursing leaders and from 2006-2011, she served as Chair of the Family/Child Health and Caregiving Department where she helped bring the department to new heights through her leadership.

Dr. Fordham has held several national, state and regional leadership including, American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) representative for the Palliative Nursing Summit, member of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association Board and parliamentarian for the Central Alabama Nurse Practitioner Association. She is a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.


Gibson-Young Linda

Linda Gibson-Young, PhD, ARNP, FNP-BC, AE-C, FAANP

MSN 2003, PhD 2011

Dr. Linda Gibson-Young is recognized as a leader in pediatric asthma care, through her sustained community work to improve the lives of children with asthma. Early in her decorated career, Dr. Gibson-Young collaborated with community partners in developing the Young Teen Asthma Camp, a camp that served young adolescents with asthma. The research conducted during the camp session found improvements in self-efficacy, responsibility and maturation in asthma management. Gibson-Young developed her own day camp, “Reach your Peak” in partnership with the Children’s Hospital Harbor Center and Pediatric Pulmonary Center to continue her research on children with asthma. She has also worked with other camps for children around the Southeast including, Kissimmee Easy 2 Breathe Asthma Camp in Florida and Camp WheezeAway, Asthma Camp Eagle in Alabama.

Dr. Gibson-Young has also been a part of several research initiatives that look into asthma treatment for children. Along with senior asthma scientists at UAB, she participated in a novel study, entitled Effectiveness of School Based Supervised Asthma Therapy (National Heart Blood and Lung Institute (NHLBI), NIH, HL075043). This innovative study found supervised asthma therapy improved asthma control.

Because of her amazing research and contribution to respiratory health, Dr. Gibson-Young has garnered several awards and honors. In 2020, she was inducted as a Fellow of the National Academies of Practice – Nursing, as well as a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in 2016. She was selected in 2015 for the highly competitive and rigorous American Association of Colleges of Nursing Leadership for Academic Nursing Program, in recognition of her potential for executive leadership. In 2015 she received the Outstanding Research Award from the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. She is currently Associate Professor at the Auburn University School of Nursing.


Gore Teresa

Teresa N. Gore, PhD, DNP, FNP-BC, CHSE-A, FSSH, FAAN

DNP 2009

Recognized as an international expert in simulation, Dr. Teresa Gore has demonstrated significant and sustained contributions to the field of nursing globally. As a former International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning President, Board of Directors member, and certified advanced educator, Dr. Gore has provided leadership and guidance to ensure that the Standards of Best Practice for Simulation were constructed in a manner to assist Boards of Nursing in evaluating pre-licensure nursing programs for simulation as a substitute for traditional clinical practice. In 2016, she led the team that developed the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning’s Simulation Standards Fellowship program that mentors over 80 participants to operationalize the Standards by providing examples and templates.

Dr. Gore has demonstrated a strong record of scholarly activities related to evidence-based simulation practice and the Standards throughout her career. She has published over 20 articles, numerous book chapters and has had over 20 invited presentations nationally and internationally including Canada, China, and Puerto Rico.

She has received numerous awards and honors for remarkable teaching and her efforts in simulation. In 2021, she was inducted as a Fellow into the Society for Simulation in Healthcare for her groundbreaking work and dedication to simulation. She was also inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2018 and was awarded the Marie L. O’Koren Alumni Award for Innovation in Teaching from the UAB School of Nursing in 2013.


Goudreau Kelly

Kelly A. Goudreau, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN

PhD 2000

Dr. Kelly Goudreau has served as the voice for clinical nurse specialist throughout the country through her leadership within academia, clinical appointments, and publications. She is a PhD 2000 graduate of the UAB School of Nursing. She currently serves as Associate Director of Patient Care Services and Nurse Executive at the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Dr. Goudreau has written and published numerous articles, books, and book chapters covering health policy, current issues in nursing and nursing research. She was a member of the panel that created the Advanced Practice Registered Nurses regulatory model and initial Licensure, Accreditation, Certification, and Education group discussions. Dr. Goudreau has held several leadership roles including serving as the past president of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, co-chair of the Adult-Gerontology Competency Task Force convened by American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Hartford Foundation and commissioner of the American Nurses Credentialing Center Commission on Certification.

Dr. Goudreau has also been recognized for her outstanding work in academia and role in leading a generation of aspiring nursing leaders. Notable honors and awards include receiving the Brenda Lyon Leadership award from the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists in 2010, being the first recipient of the President’s Award from the National Association for sustained contributions to the organization and Clinical Nurse Specialist practice and being inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2012. The UAB School of Nursing also honored her dedication and hard work by awarding her the UAB School of Nursing Marie L. O’Koren Award for Innovation in 2014.


Grimes Deborah

Deborah F. Grimes, BSN, RN, JD, MSHQS

BSN 1986

After receiving her BSN from the UAB School of Nursing in 1986, Deborah Grimes worked for 10 years at UAB as a registered nurse and 10 years as a staff nurse while also completing her Juris Doctor Degree from Birmingham School of Law. Grimes continued as a dual-licensed Registered Nurse and Attorney and has over 30 years of experience with a strong operational, clinical, and legal background in providing diversity, quality, patient safety, and regulatory compliance oversight for a large academic medical center.

Grimes worked for seven years at UAB Risk Management as a Healthcare Attorney and in 2004, returned to Hospital Administration as the Director of Joint Commission/Quality Resources. Grimes was then promoted to Vice President of Quality/Regulatory Affairs named Chief Compliance Officer for UAB Hospital. During this tenure she received a certification as a Healthcare Quality Professional, Certified Healthcare Compliance, completed leadership fellowship training with Momentum Inc. In 2017, she was appointed as UAB Health System first Chief Diversity Officer. She now serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Grimes’ contributions to risk management and health care quality were not overlooked as she was named as one of the Most Influential Women in Corporate America in 2019 by Savoy Magazine. She is also a member of several professional organizations including the Healthcare Compliance Association and the National Black Nurses Association.


Hallman Melanie

Melanie Gibbons Hallman, DNP, CRNP, CEN, FNP-BC, ACNP-BC, ENP-C, TCRN, FAEN

BSN 1983, MSN 1990, MSN 1995, DNP 2012

Dr. Melanie Hallman’s career that spans over 38 years, has been highlighted with her specializing in pre-hospital and hospital emergency services since 1979 and being an emergency department advanced practice provider for 25 years. Following graduation with her master’s degree, she became the Assistant Director of Emergency Services at UAB Hospital Emergency Department, a combined role with administrative responsibilities as a nurse manager and educator responsibilities as a clinical nurse specialist. In 1990, Dr. Hallman’s leadership was recognized statewide when she was appointed as the inaugural Chief Nurse of the Alabama Disaster Medical Assistance Team, a federally affiliated post that later became a part of United States Homeland Security.

Dr. Hallman has also had an incredible career within the UAB School of Nursing. In 2013, she became a full-time faculty position at the School of Nursing and began teaching in the Family Nurse Practitioner program. She and her colleagues soon started providing health care at the UAB Medical Clinic located at The Foundry community clinic. This role was an excellent setting for clinical mentoring of School of Nursing prelicensure community health students and family nurse practitioner students.

In 2014, she became a founding member of the American Academy of Emergency Nurse Practitioners. In 2016, she was appointed as the first Alabama state representative and in 2019, she was appointed as a national Board Member of American Academy of Emergency Nurse Practitioners. Dr. Hallman was the only nurse appointed to the national American College of Emergency Physician’s Rural Emergency Care Task Force in 2020 and her contributions led to the development of recommended guidelines for credentialing of emergency care providers in rural settings across the country. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Emergency Nursing.


Hardtman Pandora

Pandora Hardtman, DNP, CNM, MSN, FACNM

DNP 2012

For more than 25 years, Dr. Pandora Hardtman has been a leader in the field of nursing for her outstanding contributions to global health, nursing, and midwifery. Following her completion of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at UAB, Dr. Hardtman worked for three years in Rwanda through the Human Resources for Health Project – an initiative funded by the Clinton Foundation in partnership with the Rwandan Ministry of Health and a consortium of more than 20 academic institutions in the United States, including the University of Illinois in Chicago, UIC.

During her three years in Rwanda, Dr. Hardtman served as an educator, consultant, and midwifery provider in Ghana, Madagascar, Guatemala, Benin, Prague, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Turkey, and Syria. Notably, Dr. Hardtman was instrumental in launching the first private sector professional diploma midwives in Bangladesh and even provided midwifery education via internet during the ongoing conflict in Syria. In December 2020, Dr. Hardtman was appointed as the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer for JHPIEGO, an international, non-profit health organization affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University dedicated to improving the health of women and families.

In 2018, Dr. Hardtman received the Distinguished Service Award from the American College of Nurse Midwives which honors health care professionals for their continuous outstanding contributions or distinguished service to midwifery. She received another high honor in June 2020 when she was elected as one of 13 members of the board of the International Confederation of Midwives which represents 143 midwifery associations in 124 countries across every continent. She is a Fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.


Harris Lindsey

Lindsey M. Harris, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC

MSN 2011, DNP 2016

Dr. Lindsey Harris has committed more than a decade to nurses’ professional development, empowerment, and leadership. Dr. Harris is currently the president of the Alabama State Nurses Association and is the first African American elected Alabama State Nurses Association president in the over 100 years of the organization’s history. In her role as ASNA president, she has broken barriers and served as an exemplary role model for nurses, especially those of color or from minority communities.

Dr. Harris is currently a nurse practitioner on the Inpatient Glycemic Team at UAB Hospital. She has been nationally recognized for her work as a speaker on evidence-based practice, geriatric nursing scholarship, quality and safety education for nurses and improving perceptions of practitioners on standardization of care in the emergency department. In 2015, she was named the National Black Nurses Association Advanced Practice Nurse of the Year and was recognized in 2016 as a young leader with the inaugural 40 under 40 Award by the National Black Nurses Association. She currently serves as co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for Pre-Licensure Student Council for the National Black Nurses Association and served on the association’s legislative committee.

Dr. Harris has also received awards and honors from established universities. Samford University awarded her the Courage to Care Award in 2009, Living Legacy Award in 2012, and Outstanding Young Alumna in 2020. The UAB School of Nursing awarded her the Young Alumni Award in 2013 and the Jo Ann Barnett Award for Compassionate Care in 2019.


Harris Madeline

Madeline G. Harris, MSN, RN

BSN 1975, MSN 1990

Madeline Harris has always had a vision for optimizing the quality of life for her patients and their families. Harris’s work in the field of breast cancer funding and research has impacted countless patients, families, and survivors. From 2010 -2018 she was the Director of the Women’s Breast Health Funds (WBHF) at the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. Her role included collaborating with an Advisory Committee to assess community needs then planning and executing grant cycles within the five county Greater Birmingham area, and creating the breast cancer educational program for Forge Volunteer trainings and presenting to volunteers in training. The Women’s Breast Health Funds granted over $3M from 2012-2018 to organizations supporting breast cancer survivors, their loved ones, and even funded projects led to additional research awards such as “Harvest for Health” ($2.1M, NIH award), a gardening project in Alabama for cancer survivors. Harris has created a legacy in oncology, survivorship and caregiver support, while also challenging health care providers to step up and protect vulnerable women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Prior to her work with the WBHF, Harris served in numerous roles at UAB. In 1983, she was an inpatient Hematology-Oncology Nurse Clinician and manager of the Hematology-Oncology Outpatient Clinic. In 1989, she became the coordinator and manager of the UAB Interdisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic. Through her work, she transformed cancer care for patients and families in Birmingham and beyond.

With the help of colleagues and friends, Harris established the "Angel Squad" that ensures no one diagnosed with breast cancer would have to wait alone in the clinic. In her remarkable and selfless career, Harris has been awarded and honored by several institutions. She was inducted in the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame in 2010, received the UAB School of Nursing Jo Ann Barnett Award for Compassionate Care in 2004 and the American Cancer Society Ireland Volunteer of the Year Award in 1997.


Henderson Kristi

Kristi A. Henderson, DNP, FNP, ACNP, FAAN, FAEN

DNP 2010

Dr. Kristi Henderson has had an impact in academia, clinical practice, and the corporate sector on a regional and nation level. Dr. Henderson is considered a pioneer in the world of telemedicine for her efforts in providing telemedicine to every person in Mississippi. She designed a statewide connected health ecosystem that worked across all specialties and sites of care that lowered costs, improved health outcomes and saved lives. Because of her work, Mississippi now has legislation needed to advance telemedicine and is available to people living in rural areas, something that was previously only available in urban areas.

Dr. Henderson has served many clinical and leadership roles in her storied career. She is currently the Senior Vice President of Telehealth & Innovation at Optum Health and before that served as the Clinical Operations Lead at Amazon Care. Dr. Henderson has served many roles in academia including, the School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas-Austin and most recently named Affiliate Faculty at the School of Nursing at the University of Washington.

Dr. Henderson has been recognized in many different fields for her leadership and dedication to public health. In 2019, she was honored as a Distinguished Alumni by the UAB School of Nursing, received the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners State Excellence Award in 2017 and was named a Fellow by the American Academy of Nursing in 2016.


Hendrix Cristina

Cristina C. Hendrix, DNS, GNP-BC, FAAN

MSN 1996

Dr. Cristina Hendrix leads inspired nurses to fulfill their dreams and bring innovation to the field of nursing. Dr. Hendrix’s has been at Duke University of 18 years where she has served as clinical nurse practitioner, mentored doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, and developed a robust program of research. Her research program focuses on the development and implementation of interventions to support caregivers of chronically ill adults at home and, for over 15 years, she served as Principal investigator or project director conducting clinical trials and demonstration projects in caregiving. Dr. Hendrix’s received funding from Duke Endowment to lead an interdisciplinary team in establishing and implementing the Duke Family/Caregiver Training (DEFT) Center, a hospital-integrated caregiver training program. Her experience and expertise in caregiving has led to numerous interprofessional studies and national prominence as an expert in field.

Dr. Hendrix’s expertise in translating and implementing science and evidence to sustainable models of care has contributed toward advancing the caregiving science. Translation of evidence helps lessen the gap between science and practice. The Transitional Care Program she developed is a strong example of a funded clinical program that evolved into a sustained and effective clinical service. In 2012, the Transitional Care Program received the VHA Office of Nursing Services Innovation award and the National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence for its remarkable innovative practices in clinical care. The Transitional Care Program also won the Hartford Gerontological Nursing Leaders in 2014.

Dr. Hendrix’s has also won several individual awards including, Top 10 Nursing Innovation Award from the VHA Office of Nursing Services in 2012 and Nurse Researcher of the Year from the Philippine Nurse Association of America in 2009.


Hodges Ashley

Ashley L. Hodges, PhD, CRNP, WHNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN

MSN 1997, PhD 2008

Dr. Ashley Hodges is not only making an impact in the UAB School of Nursing as Associate Dean for Graduate Clinical Education, she is also helping women who are victims of human trafficking. Dr. Hodges founded and leads the WellHouse, an innovative multidisciplinary clinic in a shelter for trafficked women rescued from across the nation. The Wellhouse, the nation’s largest shelter for women who have been sex trafficked, is a 24-hour shelter offering immediate assistance to trafficked women who are rescued from anywhere in the United States. The WellHouse currently houses 30-40 women for up to three years.

At the UAB School of Nursing, Dr. Hodges leads a partnership between UAB and the WellHouse to deliver primary care wrap-around services integrating behavioral health, addiction and gynecologic services for trafficked women with complex medical and behavioral health conditions. She has helped adapt new models of care to generate new knowledge about health care strategies. This new model informs providers across healthcare settings to identify, assess and treat sex trafficking victims with multifaceted healthcare needs. Dr. Hodges consistently disseminates the knowledge she creates to impact survivor care, public policy, community and provider education at the state and national levels.

Dr. Hodges has garnered attention for her work and dedication to helping women recover from sex trafficking. In 2020, Dr. Hodges was awarded a $37,000 grant from the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation for her role as Primary Investigator in the Curricular Advancement in the Healthcare Response to Female Victims of Sex Trafficking, and currently has several grants under review that all include studies on the effects of sex trafficking.


Holland Aimee

Aimee C. Holland, DNP, MS, CRNP, WHNP-BC, FNP-C, FAANP

DNP 2012

Dr. Aimee Holland has dedicated her nursing career to advocating for women’s health around the world. Dr. Holland has led initiatives that have improved the education of women’s health nurse practitioners, increased access to gynecology procedures in rural and underserved areas, and developed practice guidelines to improve delivery of care for women internationally. Her innovative and groundbreaking gynecology procedure workshop has been utilized in over 100 countries to improve the care of women by preventing pregnancies and gynecological cancers. This workshop extends the provision of gynecology procedures to primary care practitioners in areas where there is no access to specialized women's healthcare.

Dr. Holland has held several leadership positions that focus on advancing women’s health and practice. She has made strides as Chair of the Board for the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, and as a women’s health nurse practitioners representative for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the National Task Force for NP Education and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and Licensure. In the UAB School of Nursing, Dr. Holland has paved the way for future nursing leaders to make an impact in the world through her teaching, research and mentoring. She is currently a mentor for the UAB School of Nursing Emerging Leaders, a member of the UAB School of Nursing BSN to DNP Nurse Anesthesia Self Study Workshop and the UAB School of Nursing Plagiarism Task Force, and is Chair of the BSN to DNP

Nurse Practitioner Pathway DNP Project Task Force.

She is a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.


Jefferson Carthenia

Carthenia W. Jefferson, Esq., JD, BSN, RN

BSN 1985

Throughout her career, Attorney Carthenia Jefferson has engaged in advocacy work to protect victims of domestic violence, support breast cancer awareness and created a foundation to help empower youth for success.

As the chair of the National Black Nurses Association Stop the Violence Initiative, Attorney Jefferson has partnered with city leaders, state, and national leaders to teach and inform our communities and schools about the impact of violence on the mental, physical, and social health of those living in fear of harm or loss of life.

As a survivor herself, Attorney Jefferson is active in breast health and has advocated for better care and services locally and nationally. As a member and past president of the Birmingham Black Nurses Association and leader in the Alabama State Nurses Association, she was awarded a Susan B. Komen community grant to provide education to women in the Black Belt and Jefferson County. She supports and collaborates with the Brenda Brown Blossom Buddies Breast Initiative annual fundraising and educational events.

Attorney Jefferson also has a passion for our youth. After the untimely death of her son, she established the Lawrence Mond Jefferson, Jr. Foundation that seeks to helping at-risk youth. Her nursing and legal education has provided her with the knowledge to drive and influence advocacy by working with faith-based organizations, first responders, the court system and educational institutions.

In 2016, Attorney Jefferson received the Lillian Holland Harvey Award from the Alabama State Nurses Association for her contributions in promoting advancement of minority groups. She is also a Fellow in the American Bar Association and has served as president of the Alabama Bar Association.


Jones Carolynn

Carolynn Thomas Jones, DNP, MSPH, RN, FAAN

BSN 1986, DNP 2013

Through her development of curriculum and distance- based courses and teaching numerous international students of clinical research, Dr. Carolynn Jones has become a leader in the field of nursing. One of Dr. Jones achievements came in 2009 when she led a team in a $1 million grant from the Fogarty International Center to develop a distance-based education for study coordinators from 44 countries. In 2014, Dr. Jones helped develop the Master of Clinical Research program at Ohio State University, where she currently works, which has now divided into two distinct academic programs, the MS Clinical Translational Pharmacology and the Master of Clinical Research. To date, a total of 638 students have been admitted to the combined programs, including 374 in the Master of Clinical Research degree program.

Dr. Jones' work in clinical research nursing and workforce development has led to her leadership role as an Multiple Principal Investigator in a project funded by the National Institutes of Health/ National Center for Translational Sciences, entitled "Development, Implementation and Assessment of Novel Training in Domain-based Competencies." This project developed a shared, competency-based educational portal for clinical research professionals around the world.

Dr. Jones has been awarded and honored throughout her career for her work and dedication to distance-based education. In 2018, she was inducted as a Fellow by the American Academy of Nursing and in 2017 was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award by the Consortium of Academic Programs in Clinical Research. Dr. Jones has published 39 articles and 5 book chapters ranging various topics within nursing, and has collaborated and held leadership roles on numerous grants.


Keck Rebecca

Rebecca R. Keck, DNP, RN, NEA-BC

DNP 2014

Dr. Rebecca Keck is building the next generation of nurses at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing with her leadership, guidance and innovation. Dr. Keck’s leadership focus and activities in the areas of professional nursing practice clinical advancement systems, nursing shared governance, nursing recruitment and retention and much more has made her a sought out professional in education and mentorships. In 2001, Dr. Keck received Vanderbilt University’s Affirmative Action and Diversity Initiative Award for her leadership and work at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing.

Dr. Keck has also established the Vanderbilt University Medical Centers’ Office of Emergency Preparedness as well as provided the administrative leadership for the Vanderbilt University Medical Centers’ Emergency Operations Plan. She co-authored an ASPR grant that was specifically designed for the purchase of equipment to support the hospital’s emergency preparedness and response plan that integrated into the collaborative interagency local, regional and national response plans. This grant supported purchase of the large triage tent and related equipment that is currently utilized in VUMC’s Flulapalooza yearly mass flu vaccination initiative. This initiative has been recognized by the Center for Disease Control.

Dr. Keck has also made strides in the field of nursing outside of Vanderbilt University. She has served in several different roles on a national level for the American Nurse Credentialing Center Content Expert Registry Disaster Preparedness, Management and Response, including Item Writer for the new American Nurse Credentialing Center Content National Healthcare Disaster Professional certification examination. In 2017, Dr. Keck received the Distinguished Board Member Service Award from the National Women’s Survivors Alliance.


Lee Loretta

Loretta T. Lee, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC

MSN 1991, PhD 2012

Dr. Loretta Lee is helping the UAB School of Nursing maintain its legacy as one of the top-ranked nursing schools in the nation with her interpersonal teachings, research and the community health education she provides students. Dr. Lee has a long history of teaching face-to-face and distance accessible courses that encourages life-long learning, intra- and interpersonal education, and for developing that inquisitive nature in students to support their professional development as advanced practice nurses. In the School of Nursing, Dr. Lee serves on several student research and project committees and has mentored many junior faculty that have eventually become ranked faculty within the School. In 2020, she received the Nurse Educator of the Year Award from the National Black Nurses Association for her exceptional teaching and for sharing her educational expertise through classroom instructions, professional presentations, publications and community health education.

Dr. Lee has received federal funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, National Institute of Nursing Research and National Institute on Aging that has allowed her to provide community-based health education to vulnerable populations at the local and national levels. In her time representing the National Black Nurses Association, Dr. Lee served as a subject matter expert for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health on “Culturally Competent Nursing Care, A Cornerstone of Caring – E-Learning Program”. Whether she’s teaching students, mentoring junior faculty or educating the community, Dr. Lee is making an impact with her knowledge and exceptional teaching methods.


Melander Sheila

Sheila D. Melander, PhD, APRN, ACNP-BC, FCCM, FAANP, FAAN

PhD 1990

Dr. Sheila Melander is a nationally known and well-respected adult-gerontological acute care nurse practitioner. Funded with a grant from the University of Southern Indiana College of Nursing and Health Professions, Dr. Melander started and taught in one of the earliest masters-level acute care nurse practitioner programs in the United States. She has practiced for more than 16 years as a cardiovascular acute care nurse practitioner specialist and was the first certified acute care nurse practitioner to practice in the Owensboro/Daviess County Kentucky area. While practicing at Sandra Fallon Cardiology in Santa Monica, CA, Dr. Melander was one of the first practitioners to be involved with advanced genetic counseling for cardiovascular disease treatment and prevention.

Currently, Dr. Melander is leading a generation of aspiring nurses as the Associate Dean of MSN and DNP Faculty and Practice Affairs at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Melander is well known for her DNP curricular work as well as policy statements developed while she served as President and President-elect of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. Dr. Melander also led the development of the Statement on Acute Care and Primary Care Certified Nurse Practitioners. Additionally, she facilitated the development of a second multi-organizational white paper addressing nurse practitioner employment, which is being used across the US in both primary and acute care settings.

Dr. Melander’s innovation and dedication to the world of adult-gerontology has not been overlooked. She has been honored as a Fellow in many nursing associations including the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in 2005, the Society of Critical Care Medicine in 2008, as well as the American Academy of Nursing 2017.


Moody Nancy

Nancy B. Moody, PhD

PhD 1991

Dr. Nancy Moody is a leader in the field of nursing for her workforce development and bringing healthcare to the residents of Appalachia. Her efforts have resulted in the development of programs to increase access and an understanding of rural peoples in the healthcare system. In addition, she has disseminated the results of her work so that others may benefit from her work so that future leaders can follow her footsteps.

Since starting her career educating career as an Instructor of Nursing, Assistant Professor at Lincoln Memorial University in 1974, Dr. Moody has held several roles of leadership and helped pave the way for many nursing students to fulfill their dreams of becoming nurses. One of her notable educating roles were Department Chair at East Tennessee College of Nursing and Executive Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Tennessee Center for Nursing and while at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Tennessee Center, she transitioned the Center from support by grants and gifts to a permanent funding source. Dr. Moody has also published, individual and with colleagues, over 28 articles regarding workforce development and nursing education for nurses in colleges and post-college. Throughout her career she has consistently obtained funding, exceeding $4 million, for workforce development in nursing and other health disciplines.

Dr. Moody is now giving students at Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee the same amount of leadership and guidance she was known for at her other institutions as President of the college. As President, she has initiated new academic programs including an MAT, BSBA, BSN, MBA, BA in Criminal Justice, a minor in Theater, and reinstated a major in Chemistry, giving more students the chance to follow their dreams.


Moore Tonya

Tonya Moore, PhD, RN

PhD 2012

Dr. Tonya Moore is a trailblazer in the state of Mississippi for her leadership at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. From 2009-2015, Dr. Moore served as the Chief Learning Officer for the University of Mississippi Medical Center where she was responsible for institution-wide educational programs for approximately 10,000 employees. She was instrumental in the development, and even led, several innovative programs, including the University of Mississippi Medical Center Leadership Program, and redesign and implementation of new standards of professional performance. She also expanded the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s use of a learning management system for staff training and development.

From 2015-2019, Dr. Moore was the chief administrator of University of Mississippi Medical Center Community Health Service, Center for Telehealth. In this role she led the strategic planning for advancing the clinical mission of the University of Mississippi Medical Center across the state and the development of business models and plans for community health partnerships for meeting the health care needs in rural communities in the state. Since 2019, Dr. Moore as served as the Executive Director of the University of Mississippi Medical Center Leadership, a workforce development project that is a partnership of the University of Mississippi Medical Center health and academic systems.

Dr. Moore has received numerous honors and recognitions for her impact at University of Mississippi Medical Center and communities throughout Mississippi. In 2019, she received the Myrlie Evers- Williams Minority Health Leader Award from the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities and Mississippi State University. In 2017, she received the Best in Nursing – Award of Excellence from the American Health Council.


Muirhead Lisa

Lisa B. Muirhead, DNP, APRN-BC, ANP, FAANP, FAAN

DNP 2009

From nursing policy to leading the next generation of nursing leaders as an instructor, Dr. Lisa Muirhead has made an impact of the field nursing through her leadership and innovation. Dr. Muirhead’s policy efforts have had an impact on clinical practice regionally, nationally and globally that has resulted in the establishment of innovative programs, and initiatives that have helped grow the APRN workforce, strengthen and expand scope of practice through legislation, education and clinical competency. The impact has been focused on improving access and uptake of health care use among some of our most vulnerable populations including those with serious mental illness, those experiencing homelessness, Veterans, persons at risk for cancer and person battling Hepatitis C.

Dr. Muirhead currently serves as a Clinical Associate Professor at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory and in 2020, was appointed as the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the School of Nursing. As Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Muirhead provides leadership for the School of Nursing strategic diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and policies to advance social justice and advocacy. As such, she strengthens the University’s mission, vision and values relative to an inclusive and diverse learning institution.

As recognition for her impact, Dr. Muirhead was inducted as a Fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in 2016 and a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2018. She has received numerous other awards including the Rockstar Author of the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in 2018 and the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award in 2015.


Nabirye Rose

Rose Chalo Nabirye, PhD, MPH, ADHSM, RN/M

PhD 2010

Dr. Rose Nabirye has been making an impact globally with her work in nursing education and building nursing leaders in several countries throughout Africa. From her earliest days in nursing, Dr. Nabirye has had an unshakable commitment to improving community health and nursing education in Uganda through improving the status and licensure of the professional nurse, and supporting nursing research to create evidence upon which nursing practice can be advanced in Uganda. Her service in academic nursing has primarily focused on improving higher education curriculum and degree programs at Makerere University, one of the most prestigious universities in East Africa, while also maintaining her clinical and scholarly interests in maternal/child health and public/community health.

Dr. Nabirye’s research and scholarship have continued to focus on health systems and human resources for health management and community health, in various areas such as HIV/AIDS, child health and nutrition and hygiene and sanitation. She actively participated in development of the curriculum for the first Uganda Master of Nursing (Midwifery and Women Health) program at Makerere University. In advancing the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, Dr. Nabirye actively worked collaboratively with international university nursing programs in Europe, United States and Africa to provide opportunities for reciprocal nursing student education, guest lecturers, research and program development. She actively pursued funding sources to supplement the limited resources the university provided the nursing department.

Currently, Dr. Nabirue is the coordinator of the Regional Master of Nursing Program at Busitema University in East Uganda. She is a member of several professional bodies including, a Fellow of the Uganda National Academy of Sciences and a member of the Women in Science and Development Committee.


O'Keefe Louise

Louise C. O’Keefe, PhD, CRNP, CNE, FAANP, FAAOHN

PhD 2013

Through her work as an educator, researcher, and practice, Dr. Louise O’Keefe has made an impact in the field of nursing.

In the area of education, Dr. O’Keefe has demonstrated leadership in education as a faculty member in the nursing graduate programs at University of Alabama in Huntsville through her teaching in the Family Nurse Practitioner program, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program and Nursing Science Ph.D. program. Not only does Dr. O’Keefe demonstrate expertise in the classroom, but also in the clinical area. Dr. O’Keefe serves as a mentor and preceptor for nurse practitioner students in the Faculty and Staff Clinic.

In the area of research, Dr. O’Keefe has received internal and external grants relating to occupational health – including screening employees for colorectal cancer, bone health, cancer survivors in the workplace and air pollution and cardiovascular health. Dr. O’Keefe serves as a consultant and clinical advisor to Gene Capture, a biotechnology company at Hudson Alpha, Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville Alabama. Dr. O’Keefe also has many publications and presentations in her research focus area.

In the area of practice, Dr. O’Keefe established the first nurse-run employee health clinic on the campus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville. The clinic has been in operation for 13 years and has seen growth in both services and usage saving funds for employees and the institution.

In recognition of her incredible accomplishments and dedication to the field of nursing, Dr. O’Keefe received The American Association of Nurse Practitioners Nurse Practitioner State Award for Excellence in practice and was awarded the Alabama League of Nursing, Lamplighter Award in recognition of exemplary contributions to the Nursing Profession in 2017. For her dedication to the field of nursing, Dr. O’Keefe has been honored as a Fellow for the American Association of Occupational Health Nursing in 2019 and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in 2017.


Oweis Arwa

Arwa Oweis, DNSc, RN

MSN 1991

Throughout her career, Dr. Arwa Oweis has provided leadership in women’s health as well as in the professional development of nursing at the local, regional, and international levels. Dr. Oweis is well- known for her research in the areas of parenting, family violence and gender equity within Jordanian culture. She has authored numerous articles about violence against women and has been invited as keynote speaker and presenter at numerous local, regional, and international workshops and conferences. She has also served as editorial board member and reviewer for many international nursing journals, including the official journal of the Scientific Association of Arab Nursing Faculties. Dr. Oweis is also a consultant for different national and international organizations including the WHO, the National Council for Family Affairs, the Jordanian Council, the Higher Population Council and the national women’s health center.

Dr. Oweis has been instrumental in establishing the links with well-known international agencies and universities including WHO, TEMPUS – Joint European Project, Italian Government Ministry of Health, Syria, Ministry of Health in Iraq, and Hope Foundation, USA. Faculty development at the local and regional levels has been the major focus of several of her projects, offering innovative teaching and learning exchange opportunities. She has also been very supportive for faculty in conducting research and scholarship. As a result of these continued efforts, in 2012 the JUST faculty of Nursing was recognized and won the Annual Award of Excellence of the Scientific Society of Arab Nursing Faculties for JUST faculty of Nursing.

Since 2015, Dr. Oweis has been Regional Adviser for Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Personnel, for the WHO Regional Office of the Eastern Mediterranean in Egypt.


Packa Donna

Donna R. Packa, DSN, RN

MSN 1976, DSN 1986

Dr. Donna Packa has dedicated her career to leading aspiring nursing professionals to fulfill their dreams of becoming nursing leaders while teaching at the University of Mississippi, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and UAB. During her time as an educator and academic leader, Dr. Packa excelled in program innovation and in securing funding for implementation of programs designed to prepare students for practice in an ever-changing health care landscape.

Dr. Packa has several unpublished research projects covering the quality of life of adults, tenure and promotion policies in schools of nursing and covering blood pressure reading at screenings. She has also secured over $2 million through grants from Department of Health and Human Services, School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi and Medtronics, Inc. Since 1976, Dr. Packa has consulted many high-level organizations in the field of nursing and health care including being a research consultant for the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and helped develop a critical care nursing track in a master’s program for Northern Kentucky University in 1991.

She has also been a part of over 30 publications covering a variety of topics including cardiovascular health, critical care nursing, lung health and quality of life. Dr. Packa has been recognized for her continued efforts in education and dedication to the field of health care. In 2006, she received the Alabama League of Nursing Lamplighter Award and was named Who’s Who in American Nursing three years straight from 1993-1996.


Paul Sara

Sara C. Paul DNP, FNP, CHFN, FAHA, FHFSA

MSN 1986

From a young age, Dr. Sara Paul made strides in influencing cardiovascular health in the United States and globally. For over 25 years, Dr. Paul has managed heart failure patients in community cardiology practices and developed initiatives to improve care for patients with heart failure within a hospital setting. Her leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship culminated in launching the Heart Failure Clinic at Medical University of South Carolina. She managed the Clinic at Medical University of South Carolina for 7 years before moving in 2013 to Hickory, North Carolina to assume Directorship of the Heart Function Clinic & Heart Failure Initiatives in a community practice setting. In 2015, under her leadership, the hospital became the first in Western North Carolina to offer the FDA- approved CardioMEMS Heart Failure monitoring system, allowing early detection and medical intervention to improve heart failure patient outcomes.

Dr. Paul has also made consistent contributions to national forums such as the Heart Failure Disease Management Conference and the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology national meetings. Dr. Paul served on the Executive Boards of the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses, Heart Failure Society of America and the regional chapter of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. Dr. Paul also served on the Advisory Boards of healthcare industry vendors, such as Abbot Laboratories, Medtronic and Novartis.

Extending her impact beyond state borders, in 2004, Dr. Paul and others launched a new national organization for nurses committed to advancing care of patients with heart failure - the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses. As a founding member, Dr. Paul has served in various capacities in the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses’ board. For her hard work and dedication to the field of cardiology, Dr. Paul has been honored as a Fellow to the American Heart Association in 2003 and the Heart Failure Society of America in 2016.


Poe Terri

Terri L. Poe, DNP, RN, NE-BC

BSN 1986, DNP 2013

With over 34 years of nursing experience, Dr. Terri Poe has made a name for herself for her leadership and dedication to community health. In 2004, Dr. Poe accepted a role of Administrative Director of Emergency and Cardiovascular Services and through her hard work and incredible accomplishments, received the 2006 Employee of the Year Award. She soon after moved up to Executive Administrator where she was successful in growing the hospital’s client base by 20% and implemented an occupational health program that included two outpatient clinics and a 24-hour program coordinated through the ED. In 2013, Dr. Poe accepted the Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Associate Vice President role at UAB Hospital where she manages over 5000 FTEs, a $350 million operating budget and is responsible for nursing practice across the continuum of care within UAB Hospital and ambulatory clinics. In 2019, with a strong belief in the power of shared governance, Dr. Poe led UAB Hospital to its fifth consecutive Magnet accreditation.

In addition to her leadership role at UAB Hospital, Dr. Poe holds the position of Assistant Dean for Practice as part of the UAB Nursing Partnership. In 2018, Dr. Poe was essential in the establishment of the UAB Nursing Partnership where she sought to enhance and grow the relationship into a true academic-practice partnership with a shared dynamic vision.

Dr. Poe is the past President of the Alabama Chapter of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, a graduate of the America’s Essential Hospitals Fellowship Program and was recently selected as one of the top 10 nurses of the inaugural class of Alabama’s Top Nurses in 2020.


Ratcliffe Carol

Carol J. Ratcliffe, DNP, RN, COI, FACHE

MSN 1995

For more than 30 years, Dr. Carol Ratcliffe has served as a mentor, teacher, executive, and an ambassador for change in the delivery of care. With a career that includes 11 years in the operating room and more than 14 years as a chief nurse executive, Dr. Ratcliffe is now as a leading expert in nursing education at the Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing at Samford University.

Dr. Ratcliffe’s commitment to innovation and policy and dynamic vitality as a nurse leader are important assets to the state of Alabama. Dr. Ratcliffe led efforts that forged coalitions expanding legislation, practice, and workforce strategic agendas to advance nursing. Her critical work with multiple and diverse stakeholders such as senior advisors to the Alabama Senate and House Health Committees, Medical Association, Governor’s Health Policy Advisor, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center, and nursing organizations led to laws, practice changes and meeting workforce needs.

Dr. Ratcliffe’s work to advance the Alabama Health Action Agenda has been widely disseminated across Alabama through presentations, media, and print interviews, and RWJF’s recognition of the ALHAC nationally in publications and media releases. The outcomes of her leadership as President of Alabama’s Organization of Nurse Executives earned Alabama its first Chapter Achievement Award during the 2014 American Organization of Nurse Executives Annual Meeting. Dr. Ratcliffe has also received several awards for her leadership in the classroom including the Teacher of the Year Award from the National Black Nurses Association in 2015 and the George Macon Award for Teaching from Samford University in 2020.


Selleck Cindy

Cynthia S. Selleck, PhD, RN, FAAN

PhD 1987

For over 25 years, Dr. Cynthia Selleck has led, and continues to lead, distinctive services in the field of nursing that have had a national impact. Dr. Selleck served as the Director for the Statewide Area Health Education Centers in Alabama for over 6 years where she oversaw regional offices throughout the state that seek to improve the quality of health care, particularly the rural or underserved area regions of the community. Additionally, Dr. Selleck served with the National AHEC Organization for over 12 years in various positions on the board of directors including that of president.

Dr. Selleck’s vision, leadership, and ability to secure grant funding enabled the inception of the PATH and HRTSA Clinics. These clinics provide free care to high need and high demand populations through an interprofessional model of care. This remarkable and innovative model of care along with the outcomes accomplished yielded the 2020 National Academies of Practice Creativity in Practice and Education Award and helped secure her induction into the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame in 2020.

Dr. Selleck has rendered distinct services in nursing and healthcare across the southeast for her vision and impact in practice, service and scholarship. In 2014, Dr. Selleck was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, was the recipient of the Power of One Award 2016 and was awarded the Odessa Woolfolk Community Service Award in 2018. Dr. Selleck serves on the UAB School of Nursing National Advisory Council.


Slater Larry

Larry Z. Slater, PhD, RN-BC, CNE, FAAN

BSN 2008, PhD 2011

Dr. Larry Slater has established a national reputation of excellence for his work in nursing education through his expertise in the design and implementation of active, learner-driven strategies in nursing education; curriculum development, improvement, and assessment with a focus on technology-enhanced education; program outcomes assessment and accreditation; and faculty/staff governance in academia.

He is a well-published author in leading journals and book chapters. Similarly, Dr. Slater is an accomplished and recognized presenter at national and international professional meetings. Dr. Slater has also served on several leadership task force and committees for many colleges and schools around the nation. Dr. Slater has served as a member of the Dean’s Leadership Coordinating Council at the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing and Chair of the Baccalaureate Work Group. He is now Clinical Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Programs at the University of Memphis Loewenberg College of Nursing.

Dr. Slater was honored as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine in 2020, a Fellow of the Leadership in Academic Nursing Program in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in 2018, and a Senior Fellow for the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing in 2017. He also received the Nursing Education Award for the American Nurse Association-New York in 2019 and the Novice Faculty Excellence in Didactic Teaching Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in 2013. He is an active member and leader in several professional organizations, currently serving as Chair of the Committee on Bylaws for the American Nurses Association, as Secretary for the Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association, as a member of the National League for Nursing Certification Commission, and as a member of the Steering Committee for Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing.


Smith Blake

Blake K. Smith MSN, RN

MSN 2017

Mr. Blake Smith has actively pursued opportunities for leadership development which ultimately resulted in notable innovative and visionary activities not only on a national level, but also international. In his role as a nurse for Nebraska Methodist Health System, Mr. Smith led efforts to develop a Dedicated Education Unit program providing highly trained nurses committed to consistent precepting engagements with student nurses. His vision and leadership for the program led to its successes in training and mentoring nurses, increased participant satisfaction and a 100% hire rate for students participating in the program. In addition, he collaborated with Nebraska Medicine to develop a comprehensive, Ebola pandemic preparedness response procedure.

Mr. Smith’s knowledge, experience and commitment to professional development continues to support his engagement in professional nurse organizations. He is one of the founding members for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Scholar Network and is an active member of the Greater Omaha Chapter of the American Association for Men in Nursing. In 2018, Blake Smith became the President for the American Association for Men in Nursing where he led many efforts that strengthened the organization, increased membership, improved chapter relations and mentored new board members. Under his leadership, membership has increased by 57%, membership retention is 95%, and new chapter initiation is up 131%. Mr. Smith’s vision for further expansion of diversity in healthcare through international endeavors is evident in the social media membership presence of the American Association for Men in Nursing in Nigeria, China, Ireland, England, India, Haiti, and United Arab Emirates.


Somerall D'Ann

D’Ann W. Somerall, DNP, MAEd, CRNP, FNP-BC, FAANP

BSN 1995, MSN 1999, DNP 2011

Dr. D’Ann Somerall is a nationally known nurse leader for her teaching excellence, leadership, and innovation. Dr. Somerall’s leadership acumen has gained her many top-level responsibilities internationally, nationally, regionally and at the state level. Her leadership in Sigma International on the North America Central Global Regional Council has been instrumental as they focus on transitioning to a new leadership model as the only nursing international honor society.

Dr. Somerall’s expertise and leadership have been recognized nationally on many occasions. Dr. Somerall was named a Fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in 2020, received the American Association of Nurse Practitioners State Award for Excellence for the state of Alabama in 2015 and was named one of the Top 15 Family Nurse Practitioner Professors in the nation in 2014. Dr. Somerall is regularly recognized for her dedication to service, scholarship, and clinical expertise as evidenced by the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama naming her the Central Alabama Nurse Practitioner of the Year in 2013. Her mentoring skills that helped shape a whole generation of nursing leaders and innovators were recognized when she was awarded the President’s Award in Excellence in Teaching at UAB School of Nursing in 2016. In 2017, she retired from the UAB School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor and Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track Coordinator. She continues to provide health care for patients are the UAB School of Nursing’s Providing Access to HealthCare (PATH) Clinic. She is the immediate past president of the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama.

Dr. Somerall’s scholarly contributions over the last decade have included five peer-reviewed publications in the field of women’s health, student curriculum, the social determinants of health, and global health initiatives. Dr. Somerall has been extremely dedicated to service for the UAB National Alumni Society Board and for the UAB School of Nursing Alumni Chapter for which she served as president in 2017.


Stanhope Marcia

Marcia K. Stanhope, PhD, RN, FAAN

PhD 1981

Dr. Marcia Stanhope has made significant and sustained contributions to the field of nursing and has a well-established reputation as an outstanding leader and educator at the national and international level.

Two of Dr. Stanhope’s textbooks, “Public health nursing: Population centered health care in the community” and “Foundations of nursing in the community: Community oriented practice,” were ground-breaking and have become the most used textbooks in nursing education programs. These textbooks, along with other publications, have informed how nurses address community and public health needs around the globe. Both books have been translated into several different languages including, Portuguese, Japanese, and Spanish.

Dr. Stanhope’s contributions to nursing go far beyond her textbooks. She has served as a curriculum consultant for numerous schools of nursing across the United States regarding undergraduate and graduate integration of community and public health content as well as development of Doctor of Nursing practice programs. She also has served as consultant for the United States Army, the Utah System of Higher Education, and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.

Dr. Stanhope has been recognized for her contributions to nursing education and community health throughout her career. In 1988, Dr. Stanhope was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and named Good Samaritan Foundation Endowed Chair in Community Health Nursing in 2002. She has also received several awards for her publications and dedication to the field of nursing, including the Provost’s Public Scholar award in 2011 and the President’s Award for the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2000. She was named the UAB School of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award recipient in 2012.


Streit Linda

Linda A. Streit, PhD, RN

PhD 1991

Dr. Linda Streit has been making an impact on the future of nursing by leading and mentoring nursing students for over 30 years at Georgia Baptist College of Nursing at Mercer University. Dr. Streit has served different roles at the College of Nursing; in 2010 she accepted the role as Dean and Professor. Through her leadership, Dr. Streit paved the way for highly recognized nursing graduate education programs in the College of Nursing, beginning with establishing the Master of Science in nursing in 2002. Under her visionary leadership as dean, nurse practitioner specialty tracks were launched in 2011, as well as the Doctor of Nursing practice degree in 2010 and the Doctor of Philosophy in nursing in 2009.

For more than 15 years, Dr. Streit served as the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing’s Health Resources and Services Administration Nurse Faculty Loan Program director and under her leadership has supported more than 130 nursing graduate students at Mercer and provided more than $5M in overall awards. Under her leadership as Dean, undergraduate enrollment has increased by 36% and graduate enrollment has increased by 60% while maintaining higher than the national average percentage pass rate on initial nursing licensure and certification examinations.

Dr. Streit has many accomplishments at the state, regional, and national levels, including service on multiple boards of directors, elected and volunteer positions. Her positions have included Chair and Treasurer of the Georgia Association of Deans and Directors, Board Member – Southern Regional Education Board, nursing division, Ethics Board Member for Northside Hospital, American Association of Colleges of Nursing State Grassroots Liaison for Georgia and Sigma Foundation Board of Directors.


Taggart Helen

Helen M. Taggart, PhD, RN

PhD 2000

With over 50 years in nursing and education, Dr. Helen Taggart has made a positive impact on a whole generation of nursing leaders as an educator and researcher. Dr. Taggart’s nursing education spans several different institutions including, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Boise State University, University of South Alabama, and Georgia Southern University where she designed and conducted countless courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Taggart’s willingness and enthusiasm for bring an early adopter led her to designing and conducting the first online course at Armstrong Atlantic State University, which was an online nursing course.

Dr. Taggart’s commitment to promoting professional nursing in her community and heling fulfill aspiring nursing students dreams of becoming nursing leaders has made a regional impact. She has developed significant relationships with nurse recruiters and nurse leaders at hospitals in and around the Coastal Georgia area which, in turn, has helped many future nursing leaders locate the right position to start their careers. Dr. Taggart has also worked collaboratively on many mutually beneficial projects, including an innovative student nurse recruitment project that was targeted to attract more men to pursue a nursing career.

Dr. Taggart’s positive impact has been felt across Georgia, the United States and entire world. She serves on many international and national boards including, Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society as an abstract reviewer and grant reviewer, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education as a board member. Within her community, Dr. Taggart was appointed to two consecutive terms on the Georgia Board of Nursing and was instrumental in the development and growth of the Georgia League for Nursing/Georgia Association for Nursing Education.


Talley Michele

Michele H. Talley, PhD, ACNP-BC, FAANP

MSN 2005, PhD 2015

Dr. Michele Talley has had an impact on the nursing profession, both as a leader within the UAB School of Nursing as the Assistant Dean for Clinical and Community Programs and on the community as Director of the UAB School of Nursing’s Providing Access to Healthcare (PATH) Clinic. As Director of the Providing Access to Healthcare (PATH) Clinic, Dr. Talley is known for building unique care delivery models to address the unmet healthcare needs of patients with diabetes in Alabama. Under her leadership as lead nurse practitioner and clinical director, the PATH Clinic successfully provided transitional care to over 900 uninsured patients with diabetes with 4,000 clinic visits from 2011-2018. Dr. Talley took on the role of Project Director in the School of Nursing’s first HRSA-NEPQR for Behavioral Health Integration at the PATH and Heart Failure Transitional Care Services for Adults (HRTSA) Clinics. To ensure continuation and expansion of the Behavioral Health Integration work, Dr. Talley wrote a new HRSA-NEQPR grant, which was funded for $1.5 million supporting an additional 3 years. With this new grant, the School of Nursing’s ongoing funding for Behavioral Health Integration at the PATH and HRTSA Clinics totaled approximately $7 million from for the seven years from 2016-2023.

In her current role as Assistant Dean for Clinical and Community Programs, Dr. Talley oversees expansion of faculty practices and community clinical programs further growing the School of Nursing’s footprint in the region. She works in collaboration with Academic Affairs to secure and expand clinical placement opportunities for students across both undergraduate and graduate programs thus facilitating the success of our ever-growing student body.

Dr. Talley’s leadership in practice and education have been recognized with her receiving the National Academics of Practice 2020 Creativity in Practice and Education Award in 2020 and being named a Fellow of the National Academies of Practice in 2020 and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in 2019.


VanDyke Stacey

Lieutenant Colonel Stacey A. VanDyke, DNP, CRNA

DNP 2013

Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Stacey VanDyke has made an international impact in nursing as she has served in the Air Force and as a critical care nurse. Dr. VanDyke started her career in 1996 at Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, California, where she was a critical care nurse for a 10-bed surgical and pediatric intensive care unit. In 2009 as a nurse anesthetist in the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group in Balad Iraq, Dr. VanDyke led eight anesthesia providers in providing anesthesia and trauma care to an astounding 205 patients undergoing over 400 procedures. Dr. VanDyke also flew critical care air transport missions in her time in the Air Force, providing critical care capability at the start of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001.

Outside of Air Force, Dr. VanDyke has been leading aspiring nursing leaders seeking to follow in her footsteps as Program Director of the Nurse Anesthesia Program at Florida State University-Panama City. Dr. VanDyke has also received many honors for her incredible dedication in the Air Force and as an educator. Most recently, she was a top 10 finalist for the Ms. Veteran America, Ms. Veteran America/Final Salute Inc. award in 2018, received the Air Force Longevity Service with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Meritorious Service Medal from the United States Air Force in 2016, and the JoAnn Barnett Award for Compassionate Care in Community Service from the UAB School of Nursing in 2016.


Von-Ah Diane

Diane Von Ah, PhD, RN, FAAN

PhD 2003

Dr. Diane Von Ah is an internationally known leader in oncology symptom management and has dedicated her career to improving the lives of cancer survivors and developing the next generation of scientists.

Dr. Von Ah's 17-year program of research has focused on building understanding of and alleviating symptoms associated with breast cancer treatment, particularly cognitive dysfunction. She has been a leader in conducting leading-edge symptom science research and has accomplished many firsts including being the first to conduct a carefully controlled, clinical trial of behavioral treatment for cognitive dysfunction after cancer diagnosis and the first to evaluate the role of serotonin in the etiology of cognitive dysfunction in persons affected by cancer. She has consistently and steadily built the science in an area that is a top research priority according to the President's Cancer Panel, the Oncology Nursing Society, the Institute of Medicine, the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Survivorship, and the National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship.

Dr. Von Ah's 65 publications, including those coauthored by mentees, appear in top journals such as Journal of Advanced Nursing, Breast Cancer Research & Treatment, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, etc. Her seminal paper describing the impact of perceived cognitive impairment in breast cancer survivors was cited over 190 times and her leading-edge randomized trial of cognitive training paper was cited over 150 times; both papers show a global reach with citations by international colleagues.

Dr. Von Ah has demonstrated a consistent commitment to obtaining funding for her own research. As a Principal Investigator, Dr. Von Ah's career funding includes the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Oncology Nursing Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Walther Cancer Institute and the NIH intramural research program.


Ward Cathy

Cathy R. Ward, PhD, RN, NEA-BC

BSN 1977

Dr. Cathy Ward has a record of leadership in the clinical setting and in the classroom. Dr. Ward has held several leadership roles in the field of nursing, but most notably was her role as Chief Nursing Officer at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center where she was responsible for the strategic and operational leadership and the oversight of nursing practice for 445 inpatient licensed beds, 17 outpatient observation beds, several different departments and over 2700 staff members who attended to over 155,000 patients a day.

Dr. Wards list of innovations as Chief Nursing Officer is extensive, but most notably she spearheaded operations and patient care for opening a complete 445 bed, full service replacement hospital including planning, licensing and move-day in 2008, and championed a Nursing Ebola Response team resulting in hospital designation as an Ebola receiving hospital. Dr. Wards leadership also lead to patient satisfaction with overall quality of care being ranked at >90th percentile since 2009, achieving Magnet Hospital status in 2005 and having multiple successful accreditation surveys including The Joint Commission, CMS and California DPH.

Since 1986, Dr. Ward as been an Assistant Clinical Professor for the UCLA School of Nursing where she holds lectures and is a liaison between hospital and school functions with baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral programs. Dr. Ward has also been recognized for her leadership by recently receiving the Patient Experience Success Story Award and the Excellence in Leadership in 2017, and the Larry L. Sautter Silver Award for Innovation in Information Technology in 2015.


Watts Penni

Penni I. Watts, PhD, RN, CHSE-A

PhD 2015

Dr. Penni Watts has distinguished herself as an expert in the areas of nursing education, interprofessional simulation, and integration of innovative technology to enhance learning. She is currently Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Simulation at the UAB School of Nursing. Dr. Watts is regularly sought after for her expertise in simulation education and receives numerous invitations to teach, consult with nursing schools and simulation health centers nationally, as well as internationally and to disseminate knowledge at conferences and workshops. An expert in simulation debriefing, Dr. Watts was an invited speaker at the Tennessee Simulation Alliance Meeting where she presented information on debriefing and best practice standards in simulation.

Additionally, she was the featured speaker at the Alabama Healthcare Librarian Conference at UAB, and keynote speaker at the 2020 Georgia Simulation Alliance in Carrolton, Georgia. In recognition of her leadership, mentorship, and service in academia, Dr. Watts was the recipient of the Nancy Smith Memorial Excellence in Teaching Award from the School of Nursing in 2015.

As an internationally recognized expert in clinical simulation, and a certified advanced simulation educator, Dr. Watts chairs the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Certification Council’s Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator-A Subcommittee to develop international certification standards for simulation educators and nurse leaders. Her leadership as chair of the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning Standards committee has been influential in setting and enhancing standards that nurses follow internationally as they develop, implement, and evaluate clinical simulation education for nurses and health professions. Dr. Watts has been instrumental in building clinical simulation capacity in low resource nursing programs locally, regionally, and internationally that have resulted in the establishment of new simulation programs in Jamaica and Zambia.


Wesley Deborah

Deborah E. Wesley, MSN, RN

MSN 1986

Throughout her 43-year nursing and nursing administration career, Ms. Deborah Wesley has had an impact in the field of nursing in Alabama. In 2010, Ms. Wesley became the Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Children’s of Alabama where she provided visionary nursing leadership that led to a key community partnership with the UAB School of Nursing. In 2012, Ms. Wesley led an initiative that saw the creation of a shared faculty position between Children’s of Alabama and the School of Nursing that benefited both institutions through shared evidence-based practice projects, collaborative nursing research, clinical resources, and the dissemination of scholarly work.

More recently, Ms. Wesley was instrumental in partnering to initiate a Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency Program at Children’s of Alabama which looked to fill the need for qualified mental health providers to care for their patients. This program was set to not only train needed Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners, but also to retain those Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners at Children’s once they completed the residency. As a result, in partnership with the School of Nursing, the Children’s of Alabama Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency Program was launched in October 2018, only the second such residency in the United States at that time.

Another notable achievement to Ms. Wesley’s career was participating in a successful workflow design and transition of existing the Children’s facility to the 12 story, 760,000(+) sq. ft. building of the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children which is one of the largest medical expansions in the history of Alabama.


Whorton Ronald

Ronald C. Whorton, MNA, CRNA

BS 1985, MNA 2008

Since 1983, Mr. Ronald Whorton has strived to not only educate his peers and colleagues through lectures and presentations, but also to be a leader and push innovation in the field of health care for generations to come. In 1987, Mr. Whorton started at UAB’s Department of Anesthesiology as a staff Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) where he provides anesthesia care to all patients from pediatrics to geriatrics. He then was promoted to Chief CRNA in 2000 where he supervised the CRNA staff and still provided clinical anesthesia care. Mr. Whorton was named Director of Anesthesia Services at the UAB Health System in 2006 where he was known for the excellent care of his patients at UAB Hospital. Mr. Whorton has been recognized for his outstanding achievements and leadership in the field of anesthesia at UAB. He most notably received the UAB Hospital Department of Anesthesiology Battio Award for Unselfish Commitment and Dedication in 2001 and most recently received the UAB School of Nursing’s Career Achievement in Nurse Anesthesia Award in 2017.

Mr. Whorton has presented numerous lectures at seminars and universities across the United States on topics such as inhalation anesthesia, pharmacology, patient safety, ethics, airway management, healthcare economics, leadership, and management. He has also been highly active as a leader in the Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists, being elected by the membership to the Board of Directors in 1998 and later elected as President-Elect in 2000 and serving as the President from 2001-2002 and member of the Program Committee, a position he currently holds.


Widmar Brian

Brian Widmar, PhD, ACNP-BC, CCRN, CNE, FAANP

BSN 2003, MSN 2005

Dr. Brian Widmar has distinguished himself in the field of nursing and research. Dr. Widmar’s experience in caring for cardiothoracic surgical patients provided the platform and foundation for him to build upon and in 2007, after spending several years as an Assistant in Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, joined the UAB School of Nursing as an Adjunct Instructor in Nursing. This opportunity gave Dr. Widmar the chance to lead the next generation of nursing leaders and share his experiences with them so that they can build off them. Dr. Widmar soon returned to Vanderbilt University, but this time as an instructor. In 2010, Dr. Widmar was named Instructor of Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, but with his dedication and hard work, has recently been named Assistant Dean for Academics, Advanced Nursing Practice and Associate Professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

Dr. Widmar’s work in the field and as an instructor has led to some notable research projects including, “Mechanical circulatory support: Measures of Adjustment and Quality of Life” that was completed in December 2017 and “Acute and Critical-Care Nurses’ Attitudes and Knowledge of Mechanical Circulatory Support Technology in Advanced Heart Failure” that was completed in June 2015. He has also traveled the world presenting over 20 presentations covering such areas as cardiology and leadership.

Dr. Widmar has been recognized for his achievements in the field of nursing and education by being honored as a Fellow in prestigious organizations such as the AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program and the Elevating Leaders in Academic Nursing Program in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.


Wolgast Kelly

Kelly A. Wolgast, DNP, RN, FACHE, FAAN

DNP 2012

Dr. Kelly Wolgast has made an impact to patients and aspiring nursing students through her extensive military experience and leadership. Dr. Wolgast started her nursing career as a Clinical Staff Nurse at Frankfurt Army Regional Medical Center where she planned, organized, and provided comprehensive nursing care to acutely, chronically ill and emergency patients while also supervising professional and paraprofessional staff. Through her dedication to the field of nursing and perseverance, Dr. Wolgast moved up to Chief Nurse Executive, U.S. Army Medical Command at Fort Sam in Houston, Texas in 2009 where she was the senior nurse staff officer to The Commanding General, US Army Medical Command and was responsible for developing, staffing and communicating policy, programs and initiatives related to military and civilian nursing practice in the Army.

Her leadership and dedication to the field of nursing eventually led her to the academia world where she accepted the role as Assistant Professor in Health Systems Management at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in 2011. Much like her military career, Dr. Wolgast’s academia and education career has also taken her to leadership roles with her recently being named Associate Teaching Professor and Assistant Dean for Outreach and Professional Development at Pennsylvania State University College of Nursing. When the COVID-19 pandemic ravished across the nation, Pennsylvania State University College of Nursing turned to Dr. Wolgast for her guidance and leadership and named her Director of the COVID-19 Operations Control Center where she directs the University central operations hub to manage and respond to many of the problems that COVID-19 brings.

For her hard work and dedication to the field of nursing, Dr. Wolgast has been honored as a Fellow for the American College of Healthcare Executives in 2008 and the American Academy of Nursing in 2015.


Wood Kathryn

Kathryn A. Wood PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN

MSN 1984

Dr. Kathryn Wood has dedicated her professional career at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University and her own clinical work to improving the quality of life of persons with atrial arrhythmias through scholarship, leadership and promoting clinical practice changes. Dr. Wood’s research and scholarship initiatives have garnered national attention which includes the development of the Patient Perspective of Arrhythmia Questionnaire, which is used worldwide to measure symptoms in research. She has a solid history of funding in arrhythmias since 2010 which includes funding in 2020 for examining sex differences in mechanisms of fatigue after atrial fibrillation ablation and use of machine learning for atrial fibrillation ablation. Dr. Wood has also developed innovative arrhythmia education materials used in both the United States and Europe by industry and clinicians. In addition, her seminal publication that identified higher than normal stroke risk in patients with atrial flutter led others to recognize this risk, essentially changing and improving anticoagulation guidelines.

Dr. Wood has held several leadership roles in the field of cardiology which include being an active long- term member of the American Heart Association and the European Society of Cardiology. In 2020, she chaired the program committee for annual scientific sessions and the Martha Hill award committee. In 2017, as Vice Chair of the American Heart Association’s Council on Cardiovascular Nursing program committee, she instituted nurse participation in American Heart Association guidelines and scientific statements focused on stroke prevention in patients with atrial arrhythmias, as well as development of national research agendas.

Dr. Wood has been honored for her impact work, commitment, and scholarship as a Fellow of the American Heart Association in 2014 and Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2016.


Young Geraldine

Geraldine Q. Young, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CDCES, FAANP

DNP 2010

Dr. Geraldine Young has dedicated over 20 years of her career to educating the next generation of nursing leaders and leading voice in diabetes treatment. Dr. Young started her academia career at the UAB School of Nursing in 2010 as an Adjunct Instructor but quickly moved up the ranks to recently being named Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Frontier Nursing University in Versailles, Kentucky where she is ensuring cultural diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of nursing education to address the health disparities and inequities that exist in our nation.

Dr. Young has made an impact on communities through her community health initiatives. She has effectively delivered models of clinical practice to improve the outcomes of underserved and marginalized populations with diabetes in conjunction with the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and has served on an array of national committees to advance nurse practitioner education, including the serving as the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Curricular Leadership Committee Co-Chair and on the Conference Committee.

Dr. Young has also been honored and awarded for her work in the classroom and in the community. Dr. Young was named a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in 2019, a Leadership Fellow for the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties in 2017, and a Content Expert in Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2015.