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2014 Nursing Recognition Day Award Winners

The United States Public Health Nursing Professional Advisory Committee (N-PAC) would like to acknowledge the recipients of the 2014 Publication Awards and the Minnigerode Awards for Nursing Excellence (MANE) recognized at the annual Nursing Recognition Day on May 5, 2014 at the National Institutes of Health. 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. Please join us in honoring these outstanding nurses! 

The three Publication Awards are presented annually to DHHS Commissioned Corps, Civil Service, or Tribal Direct Hire nurses who have either authored publications in the past two years or recently had work accepted for publication. 

  • The RADM Faye G. Abdellah Publication Award for Nursing Research recognizes publications that stimulate the development of nursing knowledge and practice through scientific investigation and research. The 2014 award was presented to CDR Rebecca Noe, MN, MPH, FNP-BC, for her publication, “Disaster-Related Injuries and Illness Treated by American Red Cross Disaster Health Services During Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.”
  •  The 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 2014 award was presented to LT Janel C. Parham, MS, RN, for her publication, “Path to Green: Practice Improvement in the OR.”
  •  The 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 2014 award was presented to Claire C. Caruso, PhD, RN, FAAN, for her publication, “Occupational Ergonomics: Theory and Applications—Shift Work and Long Work Hours.”

The Minnigerode Awards for Nursing Excellence are presented annually to DHHS Commissioned Corps, Civil Service, or Tribal Direct Hire nurses who demonstrate outstanding nursing contributions with measurable benefits through innovation and creativity. The following three awards were presented this year:

  • The McLaughlin Award for Clinical Services recognizes a nurse who demonstrates exemplary leadership and skill resulting in noteworthy accomplishments as a clinician over a period of time focusing on the timely and ethical delivery of health care in a direct care setting. The2014 award was presented to CDR Susanna Choi, Family Nurse Practitioner. CDR Choi is actively involved in multiple community free clinics to improve the health and welfare of the indigent, the elderly, and children. CDR Choi dedicates the majority of her weekends and annual leave to free community clinics’ activities and programs.  She has coordinated many community health fairs throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, CA. CDR Choi has designed a preventative program to promote health and wellness among the low income and uninsured Hispanic population. Through her tireless effort in providing health care and educating patients at free clinics, the clinical outcomes of the patients have improved by fifty percent in two years. This outcome was achieved by the application of optimized clinical protocols. CDR Choi is a dynamic mentor for health professional students. She serves as a model in promoting interests in the USPHS. She spends numerous hours at professional conferences recruiting volunteer providers for the free clinics, while promoting the USPHS. CDR Choi’s dynamic role as an Officer, her initiative, and her overall professional performance sets her apart from her peer group. 
  • The Hanzel Award for Administrative Activities recognizes a nurse who demonstrates exemplary leadership as a nurse executive resulting in noteworthy accomplishments. The 2014 award was presented to CDR Tessa Brown, DHSc, MPH, RN, CIC.  CDR Brown began her work in the field of HIV/AIDS in the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 2001, as a Staff Nurse and then Infection Control Officer. As an Infection Control Officer at the only female Federal Medical Center in the country, she used her expertise to improve the quality of care to inmates living with HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. CDR Brown currently serves as a Senior Public Health Analyst in the HIV/AIDS Bureau’s Division of Community HIV/AIDS Programs. Since 2009, CDR Brown has served as senior public health analyst (an administrative role) to community based programs in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Carolina.  These states have a high incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS. She currently has responsibility for monitoring 19 grantees across two different Ryan White HIV/AIDS programs totaling over $10 million in federal funding. CDR Brown provides oversight, program planning, and technical assistance to grantees on various operational issues, such as quality improvement, medical compliance, and fiscal sustainability. CDR Brown demonstrates exceptional dedication and leadership to the mission of HRSA and the USPHS evidenced by her outstanding performance as a senior public health analyst. She has proven that she can successfully handle multiple challenges.
  • The Gregg Group Award for Teamwork is given to exemplary leadership contributions by a team of nurses resulting in noteworthy accomplishments and positive outcomes towards the attainment of PHS goals. The 2014 award was presented to the Shiprock Service Unit (SSU) Ambulatory Care Nurses: LCDR Lenora Tso, LT Michelle Begay, LTJG Thomas Tran, Laura Atcitty, Gerald Benally, Isabelle Casttillo, Marty Felty, Wendy Hall, Carolyn Laitsch, Michelle Lee, Edith Love, Vanessa Shorthair, Janet Testoni, Pearl Thiele, Mary Tso, Geoffrey Thompson, Frennette Wauneka.      The SSU Ambulatory Care nursing team, in collaboration with the primary care providers, pharmacy, lab and administration sought to pursue the Medical Home model to improve access and delivery of care for their patients. This initiative developed as a result of identified fragmented care and difficulty due to provider shortages obtaining a primary care provider. SSU nursing worked with the provider staff to reorganize all staff into 4 multidisciplinary primary care teams in 2012. The SSU nurses improved compliance of vaccinations administered to the community, developed over 100 nursing competencies to assist in training the staff and volunteered for many other events in the community.  Given the magnitude of the reorganization, collaboration was conducted with facilities for space modifications, union approvals were obtained and meetings were   held to gather all staff ideas for improvement. These changes have resulted in improved staff and patient satisfaction, improved clinical care to include marked increases in health care maintenance rates for patients and more interaction with the community. The SSU Ambulatory Care nurses have embraced a dramatic restructuring of the care model and have done an exemplary job in continuing to lead further improvement efforts. The SSU Ambulatory Care nurses are now an active voice and integral team member for all decisions regarding patient care.