News Releases

University of Maryland School of Nursing Announces Inaugural Visionary Pioneer Award Winners

October 16, 2014

Awardees to be recognized at 125th Anniversary Gala in April 2015.

Baltimore, Md. – Since 1889, the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) has been committed to excellence in educating nurse leaders.  As part of its 125th anniversary celebration, UMSON will honor 25 outstanding alumni (both living and deceased) as Visionary Pioneers who have become expert clinicians, educators, and leaders in Maryland, the nation, and around the world. Those selected have made a significant impact on and contributions to the nursing profession based on their leadership, innovation, or entrepreneurship.

“We are excited to announce our inaugural Visionary Pioneer Award winners during this momentous year in the School of Nursing’s history. All of these outstanding alumni have had an impact on the nursing profession and health care, and we are extremely proud of them,” said Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing.

The following 25 Visionary Pioneers will be honored at UMSON’s 125th Anniversary Gala Saturday, April 18, at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel.  

Patricia Abbott, PhD, MS ’92, BSN ’89, RN, FAAN, FACMI, associate professor, Division of Systems Leadership and Effectiveness Science, University of Michigan School of Nursing

Abbott is recognized internationally for her leadership in preparing scholars and practitioners in nursing informatics. She led the development of the American Nurses Association’s Standards of Practice for Nursing Informatics (NI) and then served for 12 years on the Committee for Board Certification in NI at the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Abbott was director of NI graduate programs at UMSON in the early years of the specialty and spearheaded the Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics after its founding in 1991.

Rachel Z. Booth, PhD, MS ’70, BSN ’68, former dean, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing

Booth is an internationally recognized educator and former director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center for International Nursing at UAB. She started one of nation’s first adult nurse practitioner programs in 1971 at UMSON, where she was also associate dean for undergraduate studies. Her extensive international publications and research interests have focused on leadership, conflict, power, and organizational assessment and development.

Mary Catherine Bunting, MS ’72, Baltimore benefactor and chair, Mary Catherine Bunting Foundation  

Retired after a 34-year career as a nurse practitioner at Mercy Medical Center, Bunting is a transformational benefactor to causes that align with her personal values—a deep respect for the environment, a belief in the life-changing power of education, and a commitment to quality health care, particularly for the underserved. She established the Mary Catherine Bunting Clinical Nurse Leader Scholarship endowment to provide scholarship support for Maryland residents enrolled in UMSON’s Clinical Nurse Leader master’s option.

Ethel Palmer Clark, DIN 1906 (deceased)

An early nurse leader, Palmer Clark was superintendent of the University of Maryland Hospital from 1911-1914. She was an early advocate for graduate nursing education and served as director of the Indiana University Training School for Nursing from 1915-1932, where she led the school to national prominence. She was instrumental in the founding of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, which currently has more than 135,000 active members.

Darlene J. Curley, MS '82, BSN '80, RN, FAAN, executive director, Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence  

Curley has extensive experience as a health policy leader, entrepreneur, leadership consultant, workforce expert, and registered nurse. She served two terms in the Maine House of Representatives, where she established herself as one of the legislature’s foremost experts on health policy issues. Prior to her service in the legislature, Curley was founder and CEO of a home health care and medical staffing business. She has served on the faculty of the University of Southern Maine and was Director for Strategic Planning for Healthsouth Corporation/Advantage Health, one of the largest health care companies in the nation.

COL Marla De Jong, PhD, MS ’96, RN, CCNS, FAAN, dean, United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine  

De Jong has had a stellar 25-year career in the U.S. Air Force. She has held numerous leadership positions and her extraordinary skills have been recognized through early promotions to the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel. Her contributions have shaped military and civilian nursing clinical practice, the delivery of health care, nursing education and management, research, and health policy.

Dorrie K. Fontaine, PhD, MS ’77, RN, FAAN, dean, University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing and Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor of Nursing; associate chief nursing officer, University of Virginia Health Systems

A passion for critical care nursing underlies Fontaine’s distinguished career. Prior to her appointment as dean at UVA, she was associate dean for academic programs and clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco.  Fontaine also held associate dean positions and taught at Georgetown University School of Nursing. She served as president of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACCN), the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACCN recognized her contributions with its Lifetime Member Award.

Patricia A. Grady, PhD, MS ’68, RN, FAAN, director, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health

An internationally recognized researcher, Grady's scientific focus has primarily been in stroke, with emphasis on arterial stenosis and cerebral ischemia. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1999, and is a member of several scientific organizations, including the Society for Neuroscience, the American Academy of Nursing, and the American Neurological Association. She is also a Fellow of the American Heart Association Stroke Council.

Pamela V. Hammond, PhD, MS ’79, RN, FAAN, provost, Hampton University  

Hammond is the chief academic officer at Hampton University and oversees matters relating to educational policies and academic appointments. She previously served as dean of Hampton University’s School of Nursing. As dean, Hammond increased student enrollment by 60 percent and assumed major responsibilities for the research, development, and grants activities that directly impacted faculty productivity. In 1999, through Hammond's efforts, Hampton University implemented the first PhD program in nursing at a historically black college or university, resulting in an increase in the numbers of doctoral-prepared racial and ethnic minority nurses.

Donna S. Havens, PhD ’91, RN, FAAN, interim dean and professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Havens’ career has included roles in nursing practice, academe, administration, and research. She developed the Decisional Involvement Scale (DIS), which is used extensively in the U.S. and internationally to identify actual and preferred degrees of nurse involvement in workplace policy and practice decisions. For more than 25 years, she has studied, published, consulted, and presented about the nurse practice environment nationally and internationally.

Ruth McCorkle, PhD, BSN ’68, RN, FAAN, Florence Schorske Wald Professor of Nursing and Professor of Epidemiology, Yale School of Nursing

A pioneer in oncology nursing and an international leader in cancer nursing, education, and cancer control research, McCorkle has conducted landmark research on the psychosocial ramifications of cancer. She has more than 40 years experience in testing clinical interventions with cancer patients and their families. McCorkle has successfully secured funding to conduct seven clinical trials that have demonstrated consistent findings across the illness trajectory.

Esther McCready, DIN ’53, Maryland Civil Rights pioneer, retired nurse, and educator

McCready grew up in Baltimore and came of age during the modern Civil Rights movement. With the help of NAACP lawyers, including Thurgood Marshall, McCready sued for admission into the University of Maryland School of Nursing. She won her case in the Maryland Court of Appeals in April 1950, helping to lay the groundwork for the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision of 1954. She helped pave the way for generations of aspiring African American nursing students in Maryland and across the nation.

Patricia G. Morton, PhD ’89, MS ’79, RN, FAAN, dean and professor, University of Utah College of Nursing; Louis H. Peery Presidential Endowed Chair

A nationally known expert in nursing education, critical care, and cardiovascular nursing, Morton was previously the associate dean for academic affairs at UMSON. At UMSON, she spearheaded a project to develop clinical simulation laboratories and developed strategies to integrate simulation into both undergraduate and graduate nursing education that have served as a national model.  Morton has authored three textbooks, numerous book chapters, and many journal articles. She has served on the editorial board of seven nursing journals and is currently editor of the Journal of Professional Nursing.

The Honorable Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, MAS, BSN ’80, member, Maryland House of Delegates, District 10, Baltimore County

Nathan-Pulliam was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1994. She is the first Caribbean-born person and the first African-Caribbean registered nurse elected to the Maryland General Assembly. Nathan-Pulliam has years of experience as a quality assurance coordinator, head nurse, and team leader at hospitals in the Baltimore metropolitan area. She has more than 40 years of service as a political and community activist in local, state, and federal activities.

RADM (Ret.) Elizabeth Schuyler Niemyer, MS, BSN ’78, chief, Program Office for United Healthcare, Military and Veterans

Niemyer retired from the Navy as a Rear Admiral after 32 years of service. She completed her military career as the 23rd Director of the Navy Nurse Corps and Deputy Chief, Wounded, Ill, and Injured, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. As director of the Navy Nurse Corps, she was responsible for coordinating all major nursing policies for 6,000 active, reserve, and civilian nurses worldwide. Niemyer is currently chief program officer for United Healthcare, Military and Veterans, responsible for administrative oversight of a $21 billion TRICARE-Western Region managed care support contract covering 2.9 million beneficiaries in 21 states.

Marla T. Oros, MS, BSN ’84, president, The Mosaic Group

Oros has had an accomplished career in public health, academia, hospital administration, business management, and nonprofit organizational development. She has worked for the past 30 years to create and promote innovative programs that increase access to primary medical and behavioral health care for the most vulnerable populations. She developed model community and public health programs and services that have proven effective, sustainable, and replicable. Oros has achieved national recognition for her work testing and advancing innovative substance abuse interventions. 

Barbara J. Parker, PhD ’86, MS ’76, RN, FAAN, professor emerita of nursing, University of Virginia School of Nursing

Parker has been actively involved in the field of violence against women since 1975. She conducted several research studies on intimate partner violence, including studies on the relationship between abuse in pregnancy and maternal and infant complications, a clinical trial to test a nursing empowerment intervention for abused women, and a qualitative study of abuse with community dwelling women who have severe mental illness. In the 1970s, she was intrinsically involved with the creation of The House of Ruth in Baltimore, Md., one of the nation’s leading intimate partner violence centers.

RADM (Ret.) Carol A. Romano, PhD ’93, MS ’85, BSN ’77, RN, BC, NEA, FAAN, FACMI, professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USPHS)

Romano is recognized as a pioneer in nursing informatics. She helped design and implement one of the first computerized medical information systems in 1976, which provided electronic medical orders and clinical documentation for physicians and nurses in ambulatory and hospital environments. She was co-architect of the world’s first graduate curriculum in nursing informatics at UMSON. Romano served as advisor to the World Health Organization on the management of manpower and health information in developing countries. She has served in a variety of leadership positions in the USPHS in the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG), including Acting Deputy Surgeon General, Acting Chief of Staff OSG, Director of the Office of Reserve Affairs, and Chief Nursing Officer.

Lisa Rowen, DNSc, MS ’86, RN, FAAN, senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer, University of Maryland Medical Center

Rowen, a transformational leader who has advocated for nurses and their valuable roles in all aspects of health care, was instrumental in developing a partnership, UMNursing, between UMSON and the University of Maryland Medical Center. She was the driving force behind UMMC’s first-time achievement of Magnet Designation in 2009, and is a nationally recognized leader in her profession.

Phyllis Sharps, PhD ’88, BSN ’79, RN, CNE, FAAN, associate dean for the community and global program and director, Center for Global Nursing, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON)

As an expert in maternal and child health nursing, a researcher, and a mentor to the next generations of Johns Hopkins nurses, Sharps works at the forefront of community and public health nursing and at the interface of mental and physical health. She is director of three health and wellness centers operated by JHUSON, provides care in a Baltimore shelter for homeless battered women and their children, and conducts ongoing community-based, participatory research. The overarching focus of her work is on the effects of intimate partner violence on the physical and emotional health of pregnant women, infants, and very young children.

Betty Lou Shubkagel, PhD, BSN ’54, (deceased), professor emerita, UMSON

Shubkagel served as an educator and leader at UMSON for more than 28 years. She led the UMSON faculty in developing an undergraduate program in medical-surgical nursing that was highly respected nationally. She also conducted research in nursing education and nursing care of patients with cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular pharmacology. In 1965, Shubkagel co-authored the text Pharmacology and Therapeutics, which became the standard of excellence in textbooks for undergraduate nursing pharmacology.

Debra L. Spunt, DNP ‘08, MS ’83, BSN ’79, RN, FAAN, (deceased), former assistant professor and director, UMSON clinical simulation labs

Spunt was a pioneer in the use of clinical simulation as an innovative technology-enhanced teaching strategy. She was nationally and internationally recognized for her knowledge, expertise, and leadership in clinical simulation. Spunt provided leadership through formal and informal consultations to schools of nursing and health care agencies in more than 38 states and 12 countries, including South Korea, Israel, and Canada.  Through her leadership, clinical simulation became recognized as a nursing specialty. 

Joan M. Stanley, PhD, MS ’78, RN, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, senior director of education policy, American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)

Stanley has provided leadership for the development of all AACN Essentials documents for nursing education, including the Essentials of Master’s Education for Advanced Practice Nursing and the Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification and Education. She has contributed to many major position statements on a variety of nursing education issues, including the Clinical Nurse Leader, the Research-Focused Doctorate, and the move of Advanced Practice Nursing to the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. She has authored numerous articles and texts, including the 2011 Advanced Practice Nursing: Emphasizing Common Roles, 3rd edition. Since 1973, Stanley has worked as an Adult Nurse Practitioner within the University of Maryland Medical System.

Elizabeth Scanlan Trump, MS ’60, (deceased), collaborator with R Adams Cowley, University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center

Widely known as the nation’s first trauma nurse and the “Mother of Critical Care Nursing,” Scanlan Trump collaborated with R Adams Cowley, MD, to develop a model trauma center that is now one of the preeminent trauma centers in the world. She was the first director of nursing at the Shock Trauma Center. Scanlan Trump was instrumental in publishing the first trauma and critical care nursing text book, Trauma Nursing, From Resuscitation to Rehabilitation.

David Vlahov, PhD, MS ’80, BSN ’77, RN, FAAN, dean and professor, University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing

Vlahov has vast experience in interprofessional and interdisciplinary education and research. His research background includes expertise in epidemiology, infectious diseases, substance abuse, and mental health. He initiated the International Society for Urban Health and is an expert consultant to the World Health Organization’s Urban Health Center in Kobe, Japan.

# # #

The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools, and is ranked eleventh nationally Enrolling more than 1,700 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.