Friends of National Library of Medicine honors School of Nursing’s Betsy Weiner


Group of seven people in formal dress looking at the camera. There are two men and five women. In the center of the photo is Vanderbilt's Betsy Weiner, who is receiving an award at the gala event.

Betsy Weiner, PhD, FACMI, FAAN, Senior Associate Dean for Informatics at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, was honored by the Friends of the National Library of Medicine with its Nursing Informatics award during the organization’s recent 2019 Annual Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.

Weiner, the Centennial Independence Foundation Professor of Nursing and professor of Biomedical Informatics, received the award in recognition of her contributions to the field of informatics and innovation in developing nursing education technology.

Roy L. Simpson, DNP, FAAN, FACMI, assistant dean for technology at Emory University School of Nursing, and member of the FNLM Board of Directors, presented Weiner with the award.

“Betsy is a distinguished scholar who has provided our profession and the interdisciplinary world of interactive education opportunities for all,” he said. “In her 40 years of national and international experience, Betsy has implemented numerous innovative academic programs to meet, integrate and advance educational technologies for more than 2.5 million health professionals worldwide.”

Calling her a pioneer, Simpson recognized Weiner for shaping life-long professional education that is creative, effective and impactful. He also applauded her longtime support of FNLM, which supports and promotes the National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library and a vital part of the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s premier medical research agency.

In her acceptance speech, Weiner thanked her personal and professional supporters and mentors, as well as Vanderbilt for the support it has given her. “Vanderbilt has sent me around the world doing informatics and emergency preparedness projects and it’s been phenomenal,” Weiner said. “Vanderbilt University has helped me to fly.”

Weiner is known for developing innovative technology-based education and simulation solutions that have ranged from academic programs to just-in-time training for health professions. She thanked the nursing informatics profession for recognizing diversity in nursing informatics expertise.

“I represent an educational informaticist who has spent my entire career developing all sorts of different online learning materials to help our students progress from the beginning up to the expert level,” Weiner said. “I’ve had a career of innovation. One of my talents has been able to match learning needs with whatever the technology is at the moment, so that means over time, the technology I’ve used has changed. We went from videodisc to web to Second Life virtual reality. We’re now doing other virtual reality and augmented reality kinds of projects.”

She is dedicated to developing ways to use advanced technology for learning. “I think it’s a challenge as educators in today’s time to keep our learners engaged and make sure we’re out on that cutting-edge, giving them something great to do,” she said.

Weiner joined Vanderbilt in 2000 after 21 years at the University of Cincinnati. She directs online and distance learning in the School of Nursing and holds a joint appointment with the schools of nursing and medicine. She has more than 40 years’ experience in informatics and has been responsible for more than $2 million in grants regarding the development of online education in emergency response, which formed the basis of several WHO-sponsored consultations. Weiner received $3 million in federal funds for simulation development in the virtual reality world of Second Life. Her current work involves virtual reality using headsets and spherically produced video.

She has been recognized with the 2008 Virginia K. Saba Informatics Award from the American Medical Informatics Association and been named Fellow by the American Academy of Nursing and the American College of Medical Informatics. Weiner is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

About Friends of the National Library of Medicine:
FNLM is a coalition of individuals, medical associations and societies, hospitals, health science libraries, corporations and foundations dedicated to increasing public awareness and use of the National Library of Medicine, as well as to support its many programs in research, education, and public service. The NLM is the world’s largest repository of biomedical and health sciences information. It operates and the respected medical library,

On hand to celebrate Werner’s award at the FNLM gala are, from left, Nancy Lorenzi, PhD, VUMC vice president for strategic change management, professor of biomedical informatics and VUSN clinical professor of nursing; Ashley Weiner, MD’12, PhD’07, MS’05, assistant professor and director, radiation oncology residency training program, UNC–Chapel Hill; Jeff S. Gordon, PhD, VUSN professor of educational informatics; Weiner; Alvin Jeffery, PhD’17, VUSN assistant professor; Patricia Sengstack, DNP’10, VUSN director, Nursing Informatics Specialty, and VUMC nursing informatics executive; Linda D. Norman, DSN, VUSN dean and Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing.


Nancy Wise, APR
Director, VUSN Communications