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Alumni Awards: Additional Awards Presented to Turner and Champagne

Friday, April 15, 2016

Editor's Note: Chancellor Washington and Dean Marion Broome presented two additional awards during the Awards Ceremony. Barbara Turner, PhD, RN, FAAN, received the Distinguished Faculty Award  and former Dean Mary T. Champagne, PhD, RN, FAAN, who will be retiring this year received an award of Special Recognition.

Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) will hold its annual Nursing Reunion Weekend April 15 – 17, with more than 100 alumni representing years ending in 1 and 6 along with the Half Century Club, faculty, staff and students expected to attend.

One of the most anticipated events of the weekend is the Nursing Alumni Awards. The awards recognize distinguished alumni, faculty and friends for their significant contributions to the School and the Nursing Community at large. This year’s award recipients are:

Distinguished Alumna Award

Jan A. Towers, BSN’63, PhD, NP-C, CRNP, FAANP, FAAN

Towers is the senior policy consultant for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). She has been active in the area of health policy at the national level for more than 30 years, working on behalf of nurse practitioners and their patients to facilitate appropriate legislation regulation, utilization and support for nurse practitioner practice.

Towers is the co-founder of the AANP, where she served as director of health policy for many years. Her career has included faculty positions in nurse practitioner education at Pennsylvania State, Georgetown and Widener Universities. Clinically, she has and continues to be a practicing family nurse practitioner at Health Care for the Homeless in Frederick, Maryland.

She has served as a health policy and curriculum consultant for multiple government and provide educational programs and agencies, such as the Joint Commission and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The author of numerous publications, she is the founding editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners as well as the founding director of the AANP Certification Program.

In addition to a bachelor of science in nursing degree from DUSON, Towers earned a mast of science degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a family nurse practitioner postmaster’s certification from Pennsylvania State University, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She is a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, which awarded her the Loretta Ford Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Fellow of the America Academy of Nursing.

Humanitarian Award

Ellen H. Peach, BSN’71, MSN, MDiv, FNP

Reverend Peach is not retired but spent more than 40 years in clinical practice, academic nursing and nursing management. An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, she devoted herself to both nursing practice and the clergy for many years. In 13 states, she served immigrants, migrant workers, uninsured rural dwellers, pregnant and parenting teens, isolated elderly coal miners, homeless individuals, and the abused.

Greatly affected by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, Peach became passionate about helping underserved populations while a student at Duke. During graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, she helped set up the first homeless shelter for women and children in Philadelphia.

As a family nurse practitioner, she provided primary care services to migrant farm workers and underserved individuals and families in rural Nampa, Idaho. Other career achievements included planning and directing the Washington First Steps Program in Wenatchee, Washington, where she served low-income, primarily Hispanic, women and infants. Peach currently is the presiding pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hazard, Kentucky.

She earned a bachelor of science in nursing degree from Duke and a master of science in nursing degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a family nurse practitioner degree from Montana State University and a master of divinity degree from Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri.

Clinical Practice Excellence Award

Kathryn Trotter, DNP’12, CNM, FNP-C, FAANP

Trotter, a nurse in active practice for more than 34 years, is the lead faculty member for the women’s health nurse practitioner major at DUSON.

Trotter practiced full-scope midwifery for almost 20 years and has been a national consultant for Centering Healthcare Institute’s group visit model for more than 10 years. While teaching advanced women’s health content within nurse practitioner courses, she continues an active practice as a nurse practitioner with Duke Health. She is the senior nurse practitioner for both the benign breast clinic as well as the high-risk breast cancer clinic.

She initiated the first cancer survivorship program at Duke in 2008, offering an innovative group care model for breast cancer survivors, the first of its kind in the United States. She will receive the 2016 Excellence in Cancer Prevention and Detection Award at the annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress in late April.

Trotter received a bachelor of science in nursing degree from George Mason University and attended the University of Kentucky, where she earned a master of science in nursing degree with a specialty in midwifery. She earned a doctor of nursing practice degree from Duke in 2012.

Distinguished Contributions to Nursing Science Award

Marilyn H. Oermann, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN

Oermann is the Thelma M. Ingles Professor of Nursing and director of evaluation and educational research at DUSON. An expert in nursing education, she focuses her studies on clinical teaching in nursing. Her current research is examining the effects of brief practice on retention of CPR skills.

Oermann is the author or co-author of 18 books, more than 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and many chapters, editorials, and other types of publications. Four of her books are used currently as textbooks in graduate nursing education programs in the United States and other countries. Oermann is editor in chief of Nurse Educator and the Journal of Nursing Care Quality.

A member of the American Academy of Nursing and National League for Nursing (NLN) Academy of Nursing Education, Oermann received the NLN Award for Excellence in Nursing Education Research. She also was the recipient of the Sigma Theta Tau International Elizabeth Russell Belford Award for Excellence in Education.

Oermann earned a bachelor of science in nursing degree from Pennsylvania State University. She holds a PhD and MSN/Ed degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Trailblazer Award

Mark Sprenz, BSN’14, RN

Sprenz is manager of global infrastructure development for Clinical Research Management, an organization that specializes in preclinical through phase IV support of clinical research and clinical trial services for biologics, drugs and devices.

Sprenz served in the United States Marine Corps for 21 years, completing two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. After retiring from the Marine Corps, he was accepted into the accelerated bachelor of science in nursing degree program at DUSON. Upon graduating from the school in December 2014, he was hired by Clinical Research Management as part of its Ebola research efforts in West Africa. 

He served as an in-country manager in Sierra Leone, where he worked with the University of Liverpool and with partners from the Duke Global Health Institute to implement the Convalescent Plasma Study. Sprenz also worked with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on an Ebola vaccine study. 

In his current position with Clinical Research Management, Sprenz is working on the implementation of an antiviral therapy study in Liberia through a partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Honorary Alumnus Award

Christy Bell

Bell, now retired, previously held several positions with Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey (BCBS-NJ), including executive vice president of health care management, president and CEO of Horizon’s HMO, and CEO of Horizon Healthcare Innovations.

In those roles, Bell oversaw relationships with more than 30,000 physicians and 75 hospitals, in addition to behavioral and pharmacy services, utilization management, and quality of care. The Innovations Company helped launch Horizon’s focus on patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations. It also created the pioneering Population Care Management Program for nurses in collaboration with Duke University School of Nursing. During Bell’s tenure, Horizon grew from 1.5 million to more than 3.7 million covered individuals, and the HMO became one of the largest in the BCBS system.

Bell’s career also included 18 years with the Fallon Community Health Plan in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving 13 years as executive director. Fallon was consistently ranked as one of the top HMOs in America and is credited with creating the first Medicare risk plan, defying conventional wisdom and demonstrating seniors would join HMO plans. Today, 18 million seniors now choose such plans. 

Over the years, Bell has served DUSON in a number of ways. In 2014, he established a Pro-Am Golf Tournament in Southport, North Carolina. Each year, the tournament has raised $70,000 for student scholarships. Bell has been a member of the Duke Nursing Board of Advisors for six years and served as chair for the past three years. He also established the Bell Family Scholarship Fund in support of nursing scholarships at Duke.

Bell served as a United States Air Force Deputy Missile Combat Crew Commander. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hobart College in Geneva, New York.

Congratulations to all of our Nursing Alumni Award winners!