Awards and Honors
College of Nursing Awards and Recognition
Dr. Heather Hall
Dr. Heather Hall has been selected to participate in the 2017-2018 American Association
of Colleges of Nursing - Wharton Executive Leadership Program. This competitive fellowship
is designed to further develop and enhance leadership skills in senior academics in
colleges and schools of nursing.
Dr. Margaret Moore-Nadler
The College of Nursing is proud to announce that Dr. Margaret Moore-Nadler is the
2017 recipient of the Semoon and Youngshin Chang Humanitarian Award. Margaret has
been instrumental in organizing Project Homeless Connect for several years. The award
is named for Dr. Semoon Chang, retired professor of economics and finance in the Mitchell
College of Business, and his wife.
Dr. Sherry Lawrence
Dr. Sherry Lawrence has been awarded the College of Nursing Excellence in Teaching
award for 2016. The purpose of the Excellence in Teaching Award is to recognize outstanding
educators in the College of Nursing. Outstanding Educators are those who consistently
capture the attention of the learners and challenge them to value knowledge and to
expand their intellectual ideas.
Dr. Heather Hall
Dr. Heather Hall has been selected to the Provost Faculty Fellows Program for the
2016-17 academic year. The Provost Faculty Fellows Program is a new professional development
opportunity for faculty members interested in developing leadership and administrative
skills at the University level. As a part of the program, Fellows will increase their
understanding of university-wide academic initiatives, strategic planning, budget
issues, and challenges in higher education. In addition, Fellows will also make direct
contributions to the Provost's Office by taking on special projects and assisting
in other operational activities.
Dr. Casey Elkins
Dr. Casey Elkins was inducted as a fellow in the National Lipid Association May 21st,
Dr. Katie Erdlitz and Stacee Bertolla
Faculty members Dr. Katie Erdlitz and Stacee Bertolla presented at the National Association
of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in March. Title
of their presentation was: The Transgender Community and the PNPs Role.
Dr. Alethea Hill
Congratulations to Dr. Alethea Hill on her December 2016 Excellence in Scholarship
Award. The purpose of the Excellence in Scholarship Award is to recognize outstanding
scholars in the College of Nursing. Outstanding scholars are those who systematically
pursue a topic, critically analyze a health care issue, expand knowledge, and disseminate
information to advance the health of society.
Dr. Ashley Marass
Congratulations to Dr. Ashley Marass on winning the 2016 Association of Camp Nurses
(ACN) CompassPoint Writing Award. Each year, the editorial board chooses an individual
who has contributed significantly to the organization by submitting exceptional publication(s)
for our membership. Her continuing education article, "Adolescent Health: Issues at
Camp" was chosen as the exemplar in writing and we are thankful for your continued
support in advancing the mission and efforts of camp nursing.
Also, a proposal by Dr. Marass and her USA team was chosen as one of the top six in
the country for a novel approach to educating athletes about concussions. Check this link for more info.
Dr. Heather Hall AACN Fellow
Dr. Heather Hall has been selected by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
to participate as a fellow in the 2015 Leadership for Academic Nursing Program.
Dr. Sherry Lawrence AACN Fellow
Dr. Sherry Lawrence has been selected by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
to participate as a fellow in the 2016 Faculty Policy Intensive held in Washington,
D.C. in March.
Dr. Sarah Roberts and Dr. Theresa Wright CON Excellence in Teaching Award for 2015
The purpose of the Excellence in Teaching Award is to recognize outstanding educators
in the College of Nursing. Outstanding Educators are those who consistently capture
the attention of the learners and challenge them to value knowledge and to expand
their intellectual ideas.
Alabama Gerontological Society presented the Professional Award to Dr. Joyce Varner,
a professor of nursing at the University of South Alabama. “It makes me feel humbled,”
Dr. Varner said when receiving the award. “It makes me feel proud and it validates
the work that I have been doing for the last 15 years which is entirely focused on
elders and their needs.”
Dr. Varner’s passion is teaching advance practice nurses how to properly care for
elderly individuals and teaching caregivers how to take care of themselves so they
can deliver better care. “Throughout my entire career, I’ve focused on what the elderly’s
needs are and the needs of their caregivers,” Dr. Varner said. “Because their care
is only as good as the emotional, mental and physical health of the people who care
for them.” Dr. Varner has served two terms as vice-chair of the Alabama Board of Examiners
of Nursing Home Administrators. She is a regular speaker at Alabama Nursing Home Association
According to AGS, the Professional Award is presented to an individual employed in
the field of aging in recognition of exceptional efforts above and beyond the scope
of their job description and duties in enhancing the lives of older Alabamians.
Alabama League for Nursing awards Dr. Debra Swanzy with its Excellence in Teaching
Dr. Debra Swanzy emulates all things positive in a professional teacher. She works
tirelessly to ensure or verify every aspect of her courses are correct within the
electronic platform of the course and within the classroom. You will not find an error,
typo or otherwise, in her courses. Students are never confused about what is due when
or what is expected of them in her classes. Although Dr. Swanzy has been the coordinator
of multiple undergraduate courses for several years now, she always studies the content
and searches the literature to stay abreast of what is correct and pertinent to give
her students the best education possible. On the graduate level, Dr. Swanzy creates
the same level of perfection in her courses. She has worked closely with other graduate
faculty to ensure the necessary content for the DNP is covered in the curriculum and
has revamped several course to make the course meet the needs of the students and
the DNP program.
Dr. Swanzy has a sincere love of teaching and the nursing profession which shines
through in every situation. She shoots for the stars and usually obtains what she
is reaching for. For a few examples, Dr. Swanzy made it possible for students (all
160 of them) who declared nursing as their major to be transported via buses to the
university hospital and actually arranged for the helicopter crew to fly the helicopter
for the students. Recently she made arrangements for 18 senior citizens (age 80-96)
to come participate in a learning experience with nursing students. The task was quite
impressive considering the majority of the senior citizens could not drive.
Dr. Swanzy teaches difficult courses well. She strives to protect and maintain the
quality of the nursing program at USA. Students have great respect for Dr. Swanzy
because she is an expert in her courses and because she treats all students with dignity
and respect. Because of her expertise and kind nature, students migrate to her for
help and advice on a daily basis. She always greets students with a smile and students
leave her with a smile even when things do not go the students' way. Students recognize
Dr. Swanzy's excellence in and love of teaching. She has received several awards through
student nominations. She is the quality instructor she is because of her love for
the students and nursing. She is not boastful or self-serving. Dr. Swanzy is very
deserving of the Excellence in Teaching award from ALN.
Susan Willians has been awarded the Sigma Theta Tau Research Award (Zeta Gamma Chapter)
for her pilot study conducted in the Fall. She presented her pilot study "Effect of
Perceived Stress and Bullying on Cortisol and Depressive Symptoms in Ninth Grade Adolescents"
at the Council for Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS) on September 19th, 2014 in
Washington, DC. This pilot was funded with approximately $1,500 from the local chapter
Zeta Gamma in Mobile, AL. This pilot study was presented at the Council for Advancement
of Nursing Service this Fall 2014 in Washington, DC. In addition, she received a $500.00
check from Sigma Theta Tau as a research award to help cover some of the cost of her
dissertation study. In recent months, Susan has been awarded these scholarships: Louder
Family Dissertation Scholarship - $1,000; Alabama Board of Nursing Scholarship - $4,000;
Alabama State Nurses Association Academic Scholarship $1,250; Alabama State Nurses
Association Member Scholarship $1,250
Dr. Alethea Hill and Dr. Bridget Moore have been busy! Recently, they were selected
for the ASNA Leadership Academy where the motto is "Every Nurse is a Leader". Both
identified a project and submitted a resolution to the ASNA for approval to start
a statewide initiative in collaboration with community partners.
Dr. Hill was also selected for the Mathematical Sciences in Obesity training at the
University of Alabama in Birmingham, May 12-16th. The training will introduce energy
balance models for clinical interventions, statistical methods for obesity research,
genomics, and complex systems approaches to obesity etiology and intervention. The
training is funded by the National Institutes of Health & Office of Energetics. Dr.
Hill was also selected to receive a travel award to defray all cost related to the
Dr. Carolyn Dolan, professor of community/mental health nursing in the College of
Nursing and paralegal studies instructor for the School for Continuing Education and
Special Programs, was sworn in and admitted to the U.S Supreme Court Bar on March
3. Dolan, who is also a member of the American Association of Nurse Attorneys, was
one of five nurses sworn in before the nation’s highest court during the ceremony.
Dolan was admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 2005. She received a bachelor of science
degree in nursing from Auburn University in Montgomery, a master of science degree
in nursing from USA and a law degree from the Jones School of Law at Faulkner University
Dr. Mike Jacobs was among forty Faculty Members Honored by Mortar Board The Azalea
Chapter of Mortar Board, the National Senior Class Honor Society, honored 43 faculty
members recently for exceptional contributions to the University and their service
to students during a “Top Prof” reception held at the Faculty Club. Each member of
Mortar Board selected a “Top Prof” based on the faculty member’s support, both inside
and outside the classroom. The honorees must have motivated students to excel academically,
encouraged them to serve their communities and challenged them to develop leadership
skills. Dr. John W. Smith, who was serving as USA Acting President, presented the
Dr. James Harris, Community Mental Health Professor of Nursing was inducted in the
Alabama Hall of Fame by the Board of Visitors of the Capstone College of Nursing at
the University of Alabama October 10, 2013. Individually and collectively the five
inductees have greatly influenced the profession of nursing and health care in the
state of Alabama and the nation. Honoring the inductees is to honor the most noble
Carolyn Dolan, RN, JD, MSN, FNP-BC, PNP-BC was elected to the board of directors,
the governing body of The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TAANA) at the annual
symposium in Savannah, GA. Dr. Dolan’s presentation was "The Role of the Sexual Assault
Nurse Examiner (SANE) in the Prosecution of Sexual Assault. She is a Sexual Assault
Nurse Examiner (SANE) and is actively assisting Baldwin County in establishing a sexual
assault response team (SART). The board of directors has supervision, control and
direction of the affairs of TAANA and determines policies or changes within the limits
of its bylaws and has discretion in the disbursement of its funds. Directors serve
for three full years. The American Association of Nurse Attorneys is a professional
association incorporated in the District of Columbia made up of nurse attorneys, law
students and other professionals who are interested in healthcare law. The association
provides resources, education and leadership to its members and the healthcare and
legal communities regarding health law and policy. The goals of TAANA include but
are not limited to: 1. to promote and enhance TAANA and the profession of the nurse
attorney; 2. to provide educational programs, products, and services to members, chapters
and the public; 3. to facilitate communication; and 4. to identify and influence health
law and policy issues and to serve as a resource for the healthcare and legal communities.
To become a member one must be a nurse attorney, a nurse, or legal or healthcare professional.
For more information about TAANA, go to the website at www.taana.org.
Dr. Leigh Minchew, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and WHNP Specialty Track Coordinator
for MSN and DNP Programs was recently elected as Vice Chair of the Alabama Office
of Women’s Health Steering Committee. The Alabama OWH is comprised of representatives
from the Alabama State Hospital Association, Alabama State Nurses Association, Alabama
Pharmacy Association, Alabama Dietetic Association, Medical Association of the State
of Alabama, Business Council of Alabama, and Consumers. Most members are appointed
by the governor and serve women throughout Alabama by providing education on health
promotion. Dr. Minchew has served on the Steering Committee for the past four years
and has served as Program Committee Chair for three annual Women’s Health Update conferences.
Susan Williams recently received a 2nd place award for a Poster Competition at University
of Alabama - Birmingham. The competition was part of her PhD Intensive and Summer
Research practicum in collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling in the
department of Psychology at UAB.
The Alabama Department of Public Health-Diabetes Program has awarded CON faculty Dr.
Anita King the Diabetes and Cardiovascular Prevention and Management Award for teaching
current and future health care leaders
Faculty member Dr. Anjie Davis was reappointed as Regional Faculty for the American
Heart Association (AHA) for term 2012-2015. An AHA Instructor who, because of exemplary
service to the ECC program,is appointed by the Regional ECC Committee to the Regional
Faculty. Regional Faculty members are appointed at the sole discretion of the AHA.
They serve as a primary resource for quality assurance in the ECC Program. She also
is Regional Faculty for the following disciplines: ACLS, PALS, and BLS.
Dr. Joyce McCullers Varner has been solicited by Professor Brendan McCormack, of the
Institute of Nursing Research at the University of Ulster/Royal Hospitals, Belfast,
Northern Ireland, and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Older People
Nursing to serve as a member of the Editorial Board. The International Journal of
Older People Nursing is an international forum for advancing knowledge in gerontological
nursing. The Journal publishes scholarly and accessible material that challenges assumptions
and provokes new ideas, helping nurses develop and inform their practice and engage
in the debates about the health and social care services for older people. This is
an international peer reviewed journal and has an extensive readership world-wide
Dr. Lynn Chilton, DSN, GNP-BC/FNP-BC has been invited to be the Health Policy Editor
for The Journal for Nurse Practitioners. This is a peer reviewed journal with an advanced
practice nursing readership of over 50,000 nurses. Dr. Chilton also is a Reviewer
on the Editorial Advisory Board for Geriatric Nursing as well being a Reviewer for
the Editorial Advisory Board for Advance for Nurse Practitioners. Both of these journals
are peer reviewed and have an extensive readership among Advanced Practice Nurses.
AHN Faculty member Tom Meyer, has been elected to the Board of Directors for the Association
of Camp Nurses (ACN) beginning December 1st. He'll be traveling to Minneapolis for
the annual meeting in October.
Aaron Gilligan, AHN Faculty member, participated in item writing for The National
Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) at the Chicago, IL headquarters of Pearson
VUE in August. "Participating in item writing for the NCLEX really helps an instructor
get a grasp of what student nurses need to know when they sit for the Board examination.
I recommend the experience to all nursing faculty."