Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Lectureship Award

As one of the nation’s most respected advocates for higher education in nursing and interprofessional engagement, Dr. Polly Bednash worked tirelessly during her 28 year tenure at AACN to improve the quality of our nation’s health care by preparing a well-educated nursing workforce. This lectureship award honors Dr. Bednash for her distinguished record of service to AACN. Award recipients are chosen by the AACN Board of Directors on the basis of their scholarship and the notability of their contributions to nursing, health care, higher education, and/or interprofessional education. Awardees are asked to share pragmatic insights with deans when presenting at the AACN Deans Annual Meeting (formerly known as the Spring Annual Meeting).

Geraldine “Polly” Bednash, PhD, RN, FAAN, was the executive director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) from 1989-2014. In her role as Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Bednash oversaw the educational, research, governmental affairs, publications, and other programs of the organization that is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate-degree education programs in nursing – the nation’s largest health care profession.Prior to serving as executive director and CEO, Dr. Bednash headed the association’s legislative and regulatory advocacy programs as director of government affairs. In that post since 1986, she directed AACN’s efforts to secure strong federal support for nursing education and research, coordinated new initiatives with federal agencies and with major foundations, and co-authored AACN’s landmark study of the financial costs to students and to clinical agencies of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education.

Dr. Bednash served as the chair of the Nursing Alliance for Quality Care, as a member of the Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions and was a member of the Quality Alliance Steering Committee. Additionally, she was appointed to the Secretary’s Academic Affiliations Council of the Veteran’s Administration. She has served on multiple boards and commissions including the board of the Friends of the National Library of Medicine, the advisory board for the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nursing Associations scholars development project, the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Health Professions, and on the editorial boards of several leading nursing publications. She also served on the Advisory Board for the National Center for the Analysis of Health Care Data. Her publications and research presentations covered a range of critical issues in nursing education, research, clinical practice, and legislative policy.

Before joining AACN, Dr. Bednash was assistant professor at the School of Nursing at George Mason University and a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Fellow in Primary Care at the University of Maryland. Her experience includes developing resource policy for the Geriatric Research, Evaluation, and Clinical Centers of the Veterans Administration; serving as a nurse practitioner and consultant to the family practice residency program at DeWitt Army Hospital at Fort Belvoir, Virginia; and service as an Army Nurse Corps staff nurse in Vung Tau, Vietnam. Additionally, Dr. Bednash served as the first chair of the board for the Association Mutual Health Insurance Company, the first national captive insurance company developed to provide health insurance coverage for employees of higher education associations.

Dr. Bednash received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Texas Woman’s University, Master of Science in Nursing from The Catholic University of America, and doctorate in higher education policy and law from the University of Maryland. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and member of nursing’s national honor society, Sigma Theta Tau International.

The purpose of this award is to recognize scholarly contributions to nursing, health care, higher education, and/or interprofessional education. Accumulated funds will be used to allow the Association to cover honoraria and travel expenses for speakers.

The award and lectureship will be presented annually at the Deans Annual Meeting.

Recipients will be chosen by the AACN Board of Directors.

Significant emphasis on interprofessional education with special consideration given to external stakeholders to build partnership relationships.

From left to right: AACN Board Chair Dr. Cynthia McCurren, Award Winner Dr. Richard Levin, and AACN President and CEO Dr. Deb Trautman

From left to right: AACN Board Chair Dr. Cynthia McCurren, Award Winner Dr. Richard Levin, and AACN President and CEO Dr. Deb Trautman

Richard Levin, MD, is the President and CEO of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and an Emeritus Professor at both New York University and McGill University. The Gold Foundation champions humanism in healthcare – defined as compassionate, collaborative, scientifically excellent care for all. Under his leadership, this nonprofit has expanded from its roots in medical schools into the wider spectrum of relationship-centered care – reaching schools of nursing, nurses and physicians in practice, researchers, and, through the Gold Corporate Council, global healthcare companies.


 

2022 Recipient: George E. Thibault, MD, Former President, The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation

Dr. George Thibault receiving award with Drs. Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Polly Bednash, and Deb Trautman

From left to right: AACN Past Chair Dr. Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Award Winner Dr. George E. Thibault, Dr. Polly Bednash, and AACN President and CEO Dr. Deb Trautman


 

2021 Recipient: Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP, KBE,  President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement 

Don Berwick photo


2020 Recipient: Dr. Darrell Kirch, President Emeritus of the Association of American Medical Colleges and Adjunct Professor of Pschiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine

Dr. Darrell Kirch


2019 Recipient: Dr. Brenda Zierler, Professor and Interprofessional Education Scholar in the School of Nursing at the University of Washington Health Sciences Center

Dr. Brenda Zierler 2019 Award Recipient

From left to right: AACN Past Chair Dr. Ann Cary, Award Winner Dr. Brenda Zierler, Professor and Interprofessional Education Scholar in the School of Nursing at the University of Washington Health Sciences Center


2018 Recipient - Dr. David Garr, Associate Dean for Community Medicine, Professor of Family  Medicine, and Executive Director, South Carolina AHEC, Medical University of South Carolina. 

From left to right: AACN Past Chair Dr. Juliann Sebastian, Award Winner Dr. David Garr, and AACN President and CEO Dr. Deborah Trautman


2017 Recipient: Dr. Joanne Disch, Professor, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota

Dr. Joanne Disch - 2017 Award Recipient

From left to right: AACN Past Chair Dr. Juliann Sebastian and Dr. Joanne Disch


2016 Recipient: J. Randall (Randy) Curtis, MD, Professor, School of Medicine and Director, Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence; and Sarah E. Shannon, PhD, Associate Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing & Health Systems, School of Nursing, and Adjunct, Bioethics & Humanities, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

From left to right: AACN Past Chair Dr. Eileen Breslin, Award Winner Dr. Sarah E. Shannon, and AACN President and CEO Dr. Deborah Trautman


2015 Recipients: The founding members of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC): Carol A. Aschenbrener, MD, Chief Medical Education Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges; Geraldine “Polly” Bednash, PhD, Former CEO, American Association of Colleges of Nursing; Lucinda L. Maine, PhD, Executive Vice President and CEO, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy; Stephen C. Shannon, DO, President and CEO American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine; Harrison C. Spencer, MD, President and CEO, Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health; and Richard W. Valachovic, DMD, President and CEO, American Dental Education Association.

From left to right: Dr. Stephen C. Shannon, Dr. Carol A. Aschenbrener, Dr. Lucinda L. Maine and Dr. Richard W. Valachovic

2023 Award Recipient

Dr. Richard Levin

President and CEO of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation

From left to right: AACN Board Chair Dr. Cynthia McCurren, Award Winner Dr. Richard Levin, and AACN President and CEO Dr. Deb Trautman