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2012 Publication Award Winners

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The United States Public Health Nursing Professional Advisory Committee (N-PAC) would like to acknowledge the recipients of the 2012 Publication Awards and the Minnigerode Awards for Nursing Excellence (MANE). They were recognized at Nursing Recognition Day on May 4, 2012 at NIH. Each recipient demonstrates resourcefulness and dedication to the mission of the Public Health Service and adds immense value to the art and science of nursing.  These awards collectively recognize nurses whose professional and technical skills and competence continue to raise the quality of nursing.

Congratulations to the winners!


Each of the three N-PAC publication awards are given annually to a DHHS Commissioned Corps, Civil Service, or Tribal Direct Hire nurse who is an author on a publication published in the past two years or recently accepted for publication.

RADM Faye G. Abdellah Publication Award for Nursing Research: recognizing publications that stimulate the development of nursing knowledge and practice through scientific investigation and research.  The 2012 award was presented to: Nancy J. Ames, RN, PhD, CCRN for her publication “Effects of systematic oral care in critically ill patients: a multicenter study”

Dr. Nancy Ames works as the Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist for the Advanced Practice and Outcomes Management Department of the National Institutes of Health, Clinical Center.  She received her BSN and PhD from the University of Maryland School of Nursing and her MSN from The Catholic University of America.  She has worked as a staff nurse, clinical educator, unit director, and clinical nurse specialist for critical care units in California, Virginia, DC, and Maryland. Immediately following her undergraduate education, Dr. Ames served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and just prior to receiving her first graduate degree, she was an active army reservist during Operations Desert Shield and Storm.  As a nurse scientist, her research interests include the identification of oral bacteria and describing the complex relationship between the human oral microbiome and pulmonary infections.

RADM O. Marie Henry Publication Award for Clinical Nursing Practice: recognizes publications that describe clinical nursing practice such as observations or trends in clinical nursing, clinical nursing research, or current issues in clinical practice.  The 2012 award was awarded to: Tarah S. Somers RN,MSN/MPH, LCDR, USPHS, authoring a chapter for undergraduate nursing text book.

LCDR Tarah Somers has worked for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) since 2001. She has worked at the ATSDR headquarters in Atlanta, at the ATSDR liaison office to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington DC, and is now the Regional Director for the ATSDR New England Office in Boston. Her nursing education and background have greatly influenced her work and LCDR Somers is pleased to represent nurses in the field of Environmental Health. LCDR Somers recognizes that nurses are trusted health professionals and strives to maintain that trust in the communities where ATSDR assesses contaminated sites. LCDR Somers has taken the role of technical expert on a variety of projects including the national EPA School Siting Guidelines and making child care centers safer from environmental hazards. She has also participated in a host of national and regional emergency response activities including events involving anthrax, mercury spills, hurricanes, and floods. LCDR Somers continues her work in making each community a healthier place by preventing environmental exposures.

RADM Julia R. Plotnick Publication Award for Health/Nursing Policy: recognizes publications that inform and educate consumers and/or health care practitioners about significant health related issues. The 2012 award was presented to Sonia Swayze, RN, MA and Suzanne Rich, RN, MA, CT for educating nurses on safe medical device use, factors contributing to device events, reporting problems to FDA, and development of position statements to minimize risks.

As an Education and Outreach Representative for MedSun (a 300 hospital nationwide network focused medical device adverse event reporting), her responsibilities include the development and implementation of educational programs for MedSun hospital staff to recognize and report medical device problems.  Suzanne is the lead for the KidNet subnetwork of MedSun, which focuses on pediatric medical device related adverse events, including those occurring in neonatal and pediatric intensive care units (NICUs and PICUs).  Prior to becoming a member of the MedSun staff, Suzanne served as a Branch Chief responsible for the post-market review, evaluation, and follow-up of medical device adverse event reports submitted by manufacturers, MedSun and non-MedSun hospitals, and voluntary reporters. She is certified in Thanatology (the study of death, dying, and bereavement), and is a Faith Community nurse.

Ms. Swayze has over eighteen years of experience working at the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), promoting the safe use of medical devices.  For seven of the nineteen years at FDA, she served as Chief of Product Evaluation Branch II as the principal advisor to the Division Director and as an advocate to the staff responsible for reviewing medical device adverse events reported to FDA, many of which involved unique and complex problems. She has presented and published numerous articles on medical device safety to clinical organizations and the medical device industry. Additionally, I co-developed and taught a course on medical devices for graduate students at George Mason University. I currently serve as the Senior Project Manager for Communication and Outreach in CDRH’s Division of Patient Safety Partnerships/MedSun working with the Special Studies Team. This team conducts surveys with healthcare facilities to gather information on specific medical devices of interest to FDA. In addition to my regulatory experience, I have over twenty-seven years of clinical experience, including; Ambulatory Care, Critical Care, General Medical/Surgical, Home Health Care, Public Health, Reproductive Health, and Research.