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SIUE School of Nursing faculty 2020 March of Dimes Nurse of the Year award winners are (from left) Kevin Stein, Jerrica Ampadu and Annie Imboden.

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing is celebrating three faculty honored as March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award winners.

Of the school’s seven deserving nominees, three came out on top in the categories of advance practice, pediatrics, and case management, public health and community health during the March of Dimes' seventh annual event Nov. 14. SIUE was the virtual event’s presenting sponsor.

Nurse of the Year winners from SIUE are:

  • Advanced Practice: Kevin Stein, director of the Nurse Anesthesia DNP program, and assistant professor in Primary Care and Health Systems Nursing
  • Pediatrics: Annie Imboden, instructor in the SIUE Regional Nursing Program
  • Case Management, Public Health and Occupational Health: Jerrica Ampadu, director of the WE CARE Clinic, Student Nurse Achievement Program Coordinator, and assistant professor in the Department of Family Health and Community Health Nursing

“It is a tremendous honor to have been nominated and selected for the 2020 March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award in the Case Management, Public Health, and Occupational Health category,” Ampadu said. “I am delighted and humbled by this recognition.”

“My work focuses on access to healthcare for populations at greater risk of experiencing healthcare disparities due to financial circumstances or social characteristics, such as race, spirituality and sexual orientation,” Ampadu explained. “This pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of addressing disparities in healthcare in underserved communities. Increasing access to care to the most vulnerable populations required a greater level of focus and perseverance. This award signifies recognition of my work among my peers, colleagues and care providers around the region. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my community.”

“I knew I wanted to work with children long before I realized I wanted to be a nurse,” Imboden said. “The opportunity to work in pediatrics led me to enter the profession of nursing 17 years ago. I am humbled to have been chosen for this award by doing what I love — making kids smile and keeping them healthy. Whether as a bedside nurse in a large metropolitan children’s hospital or a pediatric nurse practitioner in a rural clinic, caring for children has been equally as rewarding as it has been fun.”

“I am greatly honored to be named as the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year in the category of Advanced Practice Nursing,” Stein remarked. “Advanced Practice Registered Nurses are vital to the infrastructure of the health system in the United States. APRNs include nurse anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwifes and clinical nurse specialists. Increasing access to care for millions of Americans, APRNs are more likely to provide care to vulnerable populations, as they are mostly found in geographical regions where low-income, uninsured and unemployed patients reside.”

“I started in nurse anesthesia education as a mechanism to give back to the profession, the SIUE School of Nursing and the community,” he added. “The importance of training highly educated nurse anesthesia providers should not be understated given the current state of healthcare economics and continued limitations to access. Through the training of providers who can deliver high-quality, effective and efficient patient care across all settings, we can begin to work toward solving the major threats to our healthcare system.”

School of Nursing Dean Laura Bernaix was co-chair of the 2020 Nurse of the Year committee. She shared her excitement that the awards were able to be presented virtually, noting the event’s significance as a platform to recognize extraordinary nurses who play vital roles in communities, especially as healthcare heroes navigate these uncertain times.

“As our nation and world are in the throes of a pandemic with far-reaching effects on both public health systems and the national economy, March of Dimes is concerned about all pregnant women and babies who may be at a greater risk than they were prior to this crisis,” Bernaix said. “Moms and babies need us now more than ever, and our March of Dimes family has stepped up for those in our community.”

During the event’s welcome address, SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook noted that the World Health Organization named 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. He emphasized how especially fitting that declaration has been given nurses’ profound impact on the frontlines of healthcare amid COVID-19.

“Thank you for your courageous and compassionate care,” Pembrook said. “Amid the pandemic and every other day, thank you to the March of Dimes for your tireless commitment to healthy moms and strong babies. At SIUE, we pride ourselves on developing leaders who will shape a changing world. You, as nurses, personify that worthy goal.”

View the ceremony and find a full list of award winners at nurseoftheyear.marchofdimes.org.

 

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