VUSN Awards Recognize Alumni Accomplishments

Illustration of three men in suits rolling out the red carpet

One of the highlights of Reunion each autumn is the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Alumni Awards presentation. Taking place during the Friday reception for alumni and their guests, the presentation recognizes exceptional alumni in various stages of their careers. Honorees are selected by the VUSN alumni board from nominations submitted by alumni, faculty, students and friends of the school. Categories range from named awards to recognition of honorary alumni. The 2019 award winners include a pharmacist, gerontology expert, chief nursing officer for a major academic health care system, and women’s health advocate whose work has increased access to gynecological care across the country.

Cathy Madigan, DNP, BSN’77, received the Lulu Wolf Hassenplug Alumni Award for Distinguished Career in Nursing, named for a former VUSN faculty member and distinguished nursing advocate. Madigan is chief nursing officer for the University of North Carolina Health Care System and associate dean for practice at UNC, Chapel Hill School of Nursing. As CNO, Madigan supervises all of the system’s nursing enterprises and is responsible for quality and patient satisfaction initiatives for UNC Hospitals. She joined UNC Hospitals in 2003 as director of cardiac services and, in 2013, was promoted to vice president of nursing and associate CNO. She formerly directed children’s cardiac programs at the Denver Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She received the award for professional leadership in the nursing field and a history of achievement.

VUSN Associate Professor Ginny Moore, DNP, MSN’90, received the Alma Gault Alumni Award for Public Service, which memorializes VUSN’s fourth dean and honors dedication to public service or underserved communities. Moore, academic director of VUSN’s women’s health specialty, has been engaged in public service for nearly three decades. Her career has included work as a sexual assault nurse examiner, serving as an NP for low-income women in a family-planning clinic and starting a health clinic for adolescents in residential state custody. Her doctoral project focused on support of survivors of domestic violence, prostitution, homelessness and addiction. One of her recent projects involved the development of online training for the Sexual Assault Center’s crisis line, which created a way for non-local volunteers to train and become phone counselors.

The Catherine Hanley Class of 1912 Rising Star Alumni Award is named after VUSN’s first graduate. It recognizes a recent alumnus or alumna who shows outstanding promise. Within six months of starting as a new adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner at the University of South Florida, Christina Cardy, MSN’16, DNP’17, successfully facilitated the merger of USF Cardiology with a large, private cardiology practice by creating note templates and treatment protocols, restructuring the practice’s answering service to increase patient access, and transitioning the department from paper to electronic billing. Her DNP project helped significantly reduce the 30-day readmission rate for atrial fibrillation; she became her department’s first published nurse practitioner with her related publication in Heart & Lung. Using the knowledge she obtained from her DNP coursework, she successfully proposed a formal leadership structure for advanced practice providers and was promoted to director of APPs at USF.

The Friend of Nursing Award is presented to someone who has made significant contributions to nursing but is not a nurse. The 2019 recipient is Chad Gentry, PharmD. Gentry is part of the interprofessional health care team at the Clinic at Mercury Courts, a community health clinic for underserved individuals, and one of its founding members. He works closely with VUSN to integrate pharmacy into clinical care. Gentry is an outspoken advocate for nursing and its unique perspective on health care. He is committed to educating the next generation of providers in the skills needed for collaborative practice and working together as equal members of the health care team. Gentry is an associate professor at Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy and on the faculty for the Vanderbilt Program for Interprofessional Learning and the Meharry–Vanderbilt Interprofessional Student Collaborative.

Katherine Evans, DNP’12, received the Alumni Award for National Leadership, presented to an alumnus or alumna with a broad impact on health care, typically on a national or global level. Evans is the CNO at United Healthcare Retiree Solutions, a division of United Health Group, and a national leader in advanced practice gerontological nursing. As president of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association, she led the creation of a national certification exam for the gerontological advanced practice nurse specialist, identifying APRNs who have the experience, knowledge and skills to manage older adults with complex health issues. Active in other nursing organizations, she was part of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s work group on education of doctorally prepared APRNs. She speaks regularly on issues regarding the preparation of the nursing workforce to care for an aging population. She is a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

The Alumni Award for Clinical Achievement in Nursing was given to Marlee Crankshaw, MSN’01, DNP’10, for outstanding contributions in clinical, patient-centered practice. Crankshaw is the administrative director for neonatal services at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, where she oversees a team of nearly 400 staff. In her more than 35 years at Vanderbilt, she has been responsible for numerous innovations, including single-parent rooms, training newborn nursery and NICU nurses as lactation counselors, a donor breast milk program and a NICU family advisory council. Crankshaw encourages innovative patient-centered ideas by hosting town hall meetings, annual staff retreats and a monthly collaborative workgroup. She continually advocates for patients, families and staff, and encourages ideas on how to increase quality and safety in care delivery.

Aimee Chism Holland, DNP, MSN’02, received the Alumni Award for Innovation in Health Care. As a women’s health NP with the National Health Service Corps, she saw firsthand women’s unmet health care needs, including reduced access to providers with specialty training. She used her expertise to develop one of the first gynecology skills workshops utilizing clinical practice simulations and geared for primary care NPs. These workshops provide opportunities for nurse practitioners to practice and refine gynecology skills in an educational environment rather than with actual patients. Her workshops have been attended by more than 2,500 NPs, physician assistants, midwives and physicians at national conferences. Her work also is used to teach gynecology skills at universities, including Vanderbilt. Holland recently received a grant to provide a telehealth gynecology skills workshop for rural primary care providers.

Mavis Schorn, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN, FNAP, was named Honorary Alumna. She serves as the senior associate dean for academics at Vanderbilt School of Nursing. Since joining VUSN in 2002, she has been an advocate for Vanderbilt nursing students and the role of nursing in the health care arena. She is a strong proponent of interprofessional education, and active with the VUMC interprofessional student-run Shade Tree Clinic, the Vanderbilt Program for Interprofessional Learning, and the Vanderbilt–Meharry Alliance Interprofessional Education Collaboration. Schorn is the principal investigator on a $1.43 million HRSA grant to develop and implement a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program for emergency NP students, thereby increasing the number of SANE-trained and -certified APRNs in emergency departments in rural or underserved communities. A clinician, faculty member and researcher, she is a fellow in three professional organizations.