Four faculty to be inducted as American Academy of Nursing fellows

The American Academy of Nursing has selected four School of Nursing faculty for its 2022 cohort of fellows. The four, Kelly Aldrich, DNP, FHIMSS; Laurie Connors, PhD(c), DNP,  FAANP; Marilyn Dubree, MSN’76; and Brenda Kulhanek, PhD, will be inducted into the academy during its annual health policy conference in October. Six VUSN alumni will also be inducted.

Headshot of Kelly Aldrich in a white blouse and gray blazer


Two of the honorees, Aldrich and Kulhanek, are part of the school’s informatics program, one of VUSN’s acknowledged areas of expertise. Connors is a federally funded researcher in genetics and Dubree is the executive chief nursing officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“I’m delighted that these four outstanding faculty members have been chosen by AAN for induction. They are outstanding educators, researchers and leaders,” said Pamela Jeffries, PhD, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, dean of the School of Nursing. “I frequently say that our faculty are rockstars and these honors from the academy bear that out.”

Headshot of Laurie Connors in dark jacket and white blouse


The academy’s selection committee named the fellows based on their contributions to advance the public’s health. Induction into the Academy is a significant career achievement and includes celebrating the inductees for past and current accomplishments.

Aldrich is an associate professor and director of informatics innovation at the School of Nursing with a secondary appointment in biomedical informatics in the School of Medicine. She is a board-certified informatics nurse specialist and has more than 35 years of experience as a senior informatics leader, innovator and advocate. Her current work is with the CDC on health care trust data platforms and automation of PPE data in burn and predictive needs.

Marilyn Dubree headshot in which she wears cobalt blazer and black blouse


Connors is a professor of nursing who is also part of the interdisciplinary Vanderbilt Genetics Institute. She is triple board-certified as a family nurse practitioner and advanced practice nurse in genetics and oncology. Her research focuses on hereditary cancers, genomic education and workforce skilling. Her current NIH grant is for the TIGER program, which provides education in genomics for doctoral nurse educators and scientists.

Dubree is responsible for clinical and professional leadership throughout Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In her 45-year career at Vanderbilt, she has played an active role in the health system’s strategic directions, growth, staff satisfaction, and quality and patient safety. She serves as the School of Nursing’s associate dean for clinical nursing and is also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council.

Brenda Kulhanek in a gray blazer and print blouse stands outdoors


Kulhanek is associate professor and academic program director for VUSN’s Nursing Informatics specialty. She is a board-certified nurse informaticist with extensive academic and corporate expertise, including serving in executive roles at TriStar Health, Adventist Health and HCA Healthcare. She is a past president of the American Nursing Informatics Association and has a particular interest in strengthening nursing through nursing informatics education and informatics competency.

In addition, six School of Nursing alumni will also be inducted as fellows. They are Desiree Clement, DNP’17, PMC’15, FACNM, FAANP (Emory University); Stuart Downs, DNP’13, MSN’10, FACHE, FAONL (Northside Hospital Gwinnett); Wakako Eklund, DNP, MSN’02, FAANP (Pediatrix Medical Group of Tennessee); Candace Harrington, DNP’11 (University of Louisville); Sharon Holley, DNP’10, FACNM (University of Alabama at Birmingham); and Rene Love, PhD, PMC’12, DNP’10, MSN’98, FNAP, FAANP (University of Florida).