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AACN Recognizes Excellence at the 2018 Academic Nursing Leadership Conference

Published October 31, 2018

At the 2018 Academic Nursing Leadership Conference (ANLC), AACN presented several awards to well-deserving individuals and schools. 

Lt. General (ret.) Patricia Horoho was the recipient of the John P. McGovern Invitational Lectureship Award. Lt. Gen. Horoho is the Chief Executive Officer of OptumServe. She is the first woman and the first nurse to hold the position of Army Surgeon General, and she has commanded the U.S. Army Medical Command and served as the commander of the Walter Reed Health Care System. Upon receiving the award, Lt. Gen. Horoho delivered the McGovern Lecture to a record number of conference attendees. 

On October 28, Dr. Julie Sochalski, Associate Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Academic Programs at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, was awarded the AACN Lois Capps Policy Luminary Award. This annual award recognizes an outstanding nursing leader for their public policy achievements. Dr. Sochalski, current chair of AACN’s Health Policy Advisory Council, has made exceptional contributions to the nursing workforce and health policy over the years, and is well-deserving of this esteemed honor.


On October 29, prior to the association’s Business Meeting, AACN Chair of the Board of Directors Ann Cary presented Dr. Jane Kirschling with the Sister Bernadette Armiger Award, which is bestowed annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the association, to nursing education, and to the advancement of the nursing profession.  The award was established to honor the distinguished service of AACN’s third president.  Dr. Kirschling has been highly engaged in service to AACN for many years, including serving as Board Chair from 2012-14. Currently, she is the dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Maryland. 

Dr. Cary next presented Darlene Curley with an Honorary Associate Membership Award.  This award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the goals of the association. Ms. Curley currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Jonas Philanthropies and is Senior Fellow of Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare. In her position at the Jonas Foundation, Ms. Curley has made significant contributions to AACN’s goal of being a leading partner in advancing improvements in health, health care, and higher education. Her leadership has had a significant impact on addressing the nation’s critical shortage of nursing faculty and primary care leaders.

Receiving an AACN Emeritus Membership Award was Dr. Jeanne Novotny, an honor granted to those institutional representatives who have retired from the deanship and to whom the honorary title emeritus has been conferred by their respective institutions.  Dr. Novotny has held two deanships over the past 17 years first at Fairfield University and then at Texas Tech.  During those years she demonstrated her commitment to AACN through her regular attendance and active participation in the organization, including serving as Chair of the Academic Progression Task Force. 


Also receiving an Emeritus Membership Award was Dr. Pamela Watson, who retired in September 2017 from the University of Texas Medical Branch having served as dean there since 2001. Prior to that, Dr. Watson served as the nursing dean at Thomas Jefferson University from 1987-2001.  She has been connected to AACN for 30 years and during that time served on the Board of Directors and in many volunteer capacities to advance the work of the organization and our mission.  


AACN member institutions also were recognized at the ANLC with several honors

The Innovations in Professional Nursing Award recognizes pioneering educational initiatives launched by AACN member institutions. At the ANLC, awards were presented in four institutional categories:

  • Small/Liberal Arts Colleges: Saint Francis University Department of Nursing.
  • Academic Health Centers category: University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing.
  • Private Colleges/University category: Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health.
  • Public Colleges/Universities category: Rutgers University-Camden School of Nursing.

The Exemplary Academic-Practice Partnership Awards are presented annually to AACN member schools and their practice partners recognizing highly productive and model academic-practice partnerships. Three partnership awards were presented by Dr. Cary: 

  • University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions and Kaiser Permanente Nurse Scholars Academy
  • University of the Incarnate Word School of Nursing and Health Professions and Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital
  • University of Utah College of Nursing and Juvenile Justice Services

The New Era for Academic Nursing Award recognizes AACN member institutions that have successfully implemented recommendations from AACN's report Advancing Healthcare Transformation: A New Era for Academic Nursing. This year’s award was presented to the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital.  

Congratulations to all our 2018 award recipients!