Lee, Watts named NAP Fellows

By Pareasa Rahimi

Two University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing faculty members have been named Distinguished Fellows of the National Academies of Practice. Associate Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Family, Community and Health Systems Loretta Taylor Lee, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, CNE (MSN 1991, PhD 2012), and Associate Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Technology and Innovation Penni Watts, PhD, RN, CHSE-A, ANEF, FSSH, FAAN (PhD 2015), were inducted as Fellows during the 2024 NAP Annual Meeting and Forum.

The National Academies of Practice brings together multiple health professions to work collaboratively and advise on topics including national health policy and affordable, accessible health care.

Fellowship in the National Academies of Practice is an honor extended to those who have excelled in their profession and are dedicated to furthering interprofessional practice, scholarship and policy in support of interprofessional care. Fellows are nominated and elected by their peers, recognizing their achievements and leadership within their profession.

Lee’s work focuses on health promotion and health policies affecting underserved populations. During her academic career, she has held leadership roles as Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track Coordinator for the Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner track in the MSN Program and as Director of the Adult Advanced Practice specialty tracks. Lee also is an associate editor for the Journal of Ethnicity and Health and the chair of the National Black Nurses Association Inc. Health Policy Committee. In 2020, she was recognized as NBNA Nurse Educator of the Year, and more recently, she participated in the National League for Nursing’s year-long LEAD program. Lee also is co-principal investigator on an NBNA grant to support the creation of NBNA Mini Nurse Academies, an early experiential nursing program for students in third through sixth grade designed to grow the nursing workforce.

“I am honored to be recognized as a Distinguished Fellow by the National Academies of Practice. The vision of NAP, ‘the alliance of professionals collaborating to transform health and well-being,’ is critical as health care providers work to improve patient health outcomes,” Lee said. “The UAB School of Nursing has provided me with opportunities to work interprofessionally with colleagues from across campus and beyond the university. I am excited to educate the next generation of health care providers and participate in interprofessional collaborations to create a health care system that focuses on health equity for all.”

Watts has led the integration of clinical and interprofessional simulation experiences across multiple programs on campus. She is currently assistant editor of Clinical Simulation in Nursing, the official journal of the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning. Watts also serves as an SSH accreditation program site reviewer and as a member of the SSH Certification Council. She previously chaired the Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator-Advanced, a subcommittee that supports development as advanced simulationists. Watts also chaired the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning Standards Committee, developing standards of best practice for implementing simulation experiences, and received the INACSL Recognition of Work Above and Beyond the Call of Duty award in 2022 for her efforts as chair during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As I have been engaged in interprofessional practice and education for many years, it is an exciting honor to be recognized as a leader and change agent for interprofessional care,” Watts said. “The exemplary work of UAB that fosters the interprofessional community has allowed me to promote and influence quality interprofessional education and health care for our students and beyond. I am delighted to continue this work with our partners to shape a strong and empowered workforce.”

Upcoming Events