By Laura Lesley
The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, together with the Nursing and Nurse Anesthesia Chapters of the UAB National Alumni Society, hosted its annual “Alumni Night” celebration on October 17, 2019. The event was held in the School’s state-of-the-art Leadership Institute, part of its recent building expansion.
The celebratory events began with the Distinguished Alumni Presentation from Kristi Henderson, DNP, FNP, ACNP, FAAN, FAEN, recipient of the School’s prestigious 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award. Then, guest enjoyed a reception and guided tours of the School’s new building expansion, followed by a seated dinner with annual alumni awards presentations and installation of the Nursing Alumni Chapter Board.
Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing, presented the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award to Henderson. Established in 1989, this award is the highest honor bestowed by the School, recognizing an outstanding graduate who has demonstrated leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship to significantly enhance nursing on state and national levels through clinical or administrative practice.
Henderson, leader of clinical operations for Amazon Care and Clinical Professor of Population Health at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas-Austin, earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from the UAB School of Nursing in 2010. She has more than 25 years of experience as a digital health leader, innovator, health advocate, educator, researcher and clinician. Henderson is known for her important work in developing a statewide Telehealth model in Mississippi and for her keen ability to execute and sustain these models in advance of them becoming an industry standard. She has testified before multiple U.S. Senate committees to advance telehealth policy and share innovative new models of care.
As a token of appreciation, Harper presented Henderson with a bound copy of her nomination letters.
Additionally, several other alumni were honored for their service and dedication to nursing and the School.
The Marie L. O’Koren Alumni Award for Innovation was presented to Cristina C. Hendrix (MSN 1996), DNS, GNP-BC, FNP, FAAN. Hendrix is an associate professor and Division Chair of Clinical Health Systems and Analytics at Duke University School of Nursing. She is also a core team member of the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center at the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Sciences Center.
The Young Alumni Merit Award was presented to Somali Nguyen (MSN 2014, BSN 2010), DNP, MSN, AGACNP-BC. Nguyen is the lead nurse practitioner for the comprehensive vascular access team and medical emergency team at UAB Highlands Medical Center. In this role, he has trained several nurses, advanced practice providers and residents with the ultrasound guided technique to obtain venous access on difficult access patients.
The Jo Ann Barnett Award for Compassionate Care was awarded to five deserving alumni this year. The award memorializes Barnett, a UAB School of Nursing graduate and neonatal nurse practitioner who was a champion for the highest quality of compassionate care for her patients and their families. Barnett passed away in 2002 and that year, the Nursing Chapter of the UAB National Alumni Society established the award to honor her service to her patients, community and alma mater. This year’s five recipients are:
-Darcy S. Ansley (BSN 1980, MSN 2009), MSN, RN, director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s of Alabama
-Lindsey Harris (MSN 2011, DNP 2016), DNP, FNP-BC, Inpatient Glycemic Control Nurse Practitioner at UAB Hospital, immediate past president of the Birmingham Black Nurses Association and incoming president of the Alabama State Nurses Association
-Tonya Moore (PhD 2012), PhD, RN, Administrator for Community Health Services at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, chair of the Mississippi Telehealth User Group and Vice President of the Mississippi Nurses Association Board of Directors
-Kristen Noles (MSN 2011, DNP 2018), DNP, RN, CNL, Nurse Manager of the Acute Trauma Unit and Outpatient Clinical Decision Unit at UAB Hospital
-Jody White (MSN 2006, DNP 2011), DNP, RN, NE-BC, Nurse Manager of the Heart and Lung Transplant Intensive Care Unit at UAB Hospital
The Career Achievement in Nurse Anesthesia Award was presented to Ray Dunn (MNA 2008), MNA, CRNA, Corporate Director of Anesthesia for DCH Health System. A retired Naval Officer with more than 25 years of service to our country, Dunn is the immediate past president of the Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists and is a two-time recipient of the Alabama Hospital Association Regional Healthcare Award and the organization’s State of Alabama Healthcare Hero Award.
The Rising Star in Nurse Anesthesia Award was presented to Brittany Jones (MSN 2015), MSN, CRNA, a staff CRNA at Baptist East Hospital in Montgomery, Alabama. She is a DNP candidate at the University of Alabama, anticipating her degree completion in May 2021.
Also at Alumni Night 2019, the Nursing Chapter of the UAB National Alumni Society installed new officers and board members for the coming term. Officers for the 2019-2020 year are President Kala Blakely (MSN 2010, DNP 2013; President-Elect Bryan Combs (MSN 2010, MSN 2012, PhD 2019); Secretary/Treasurer Melanie Hallman (BSN 1983, MSN 1990, MSN 1995, DNP 2012); Awards & Scholarships Chair Becky Jacobs (MSN 1987); Archivist Pat Cleveland (BSN 1973, MSN 1975); Student Relations Chair Karmie Johnson (MSN 2011, DNP 2016); and Kim Froelich (BSN 1991), Cori Johnson (BSN 2010, MSN 2014, DNP 2017), Marilyn Johnson (BSN 1982), Jeremy Jordan (MSN 2014), Krista Niedermeier (BSN 1989, MNA 2006, DNP 2013) and Ashley Petty-Burnley (MSN 2009, DNP 2016) serving as board members.