The VNA Foundation also awarded five finalists with $5,000 unrestricted cash awards for their exceptional efforts in community nursing:
Deborah E. Bjurstrom, BS, RN, CSN
School Nurse, Schurz High School, Chicago. Making an impact in young students’ lives has been Deborah Bjurstrom’s life work. Bjurstrom is known for her boundless energy that helps her effectively deal with the challenges she encounters interacting with more than 2,600 inner city students at Schurz High School. She nurtures and empowers her student patients to take an active role in managing their health care. Bjurstrom has been an advocate for homebound students and volunteered to coordinate the home-hospital program for patients with high-risk pregnancies and other complex medical issues. When faced with the public health mandate of Hepatitis B compliance, Bjurstrom coordinated a massive school campaign that resulted in more than 1,200 at risk students becoming fully immunized.
Monica Dillon, BSN, RN
Community Health Nurse, Howard Area Community Center, Chicago. In her job as a community health nurse, Monica Dillon is responsible for the health needs of the patients enrolled at the Howard Area Community Center in Chicago’s Rogers Park community. She has created innovative programs including a lead screening program, bringing together key community leaders ranging from public health officials to politicians, and, ultimately, securing a grant from the Chicago Department of Health. Her work is the basis for a National Institute of Health proposal that would replicate the partnership model in other Chicago area communities. Dillon is currently shifting her creative effort to address America’s obesity problem and its effects here in Chicago. One of her nominators summarized Dillon’s accomplishments by saying that Dillon was the most knowledgeable, principled and dedicated nurse she has ever practiced with.
Pam Gossman, ND, APN, CFNP, BC-ADM
Volunteer Diabetic Coordinator, Tri-City Health Partnership, St. Charles. Dr. Pam Grossman is one of the founding members of the Tri-City Health Partnership, a free medical clinic for low income uninsured residents of the western suburbs. The clinic is the primary source of health care for residents of the area’s local homeless shelter. Dr. Gossman also provides services to homeless people of the area. Since the clinic opened in 2001, 650 patients have been enrolled in her program. Dr. Gossman has led a team in developing a much-needed free diabetic clinic, where she also serves as the nurse practitioner. The comprehensive program is designed to treat patients as well as educate and empower them to manage their own care. In addition to her support at the Tri City clinic, Gossman is currently working at the Open Door Clinic, a not-for-profit agency that serves HIV/AIDS patients and provides testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
Ann McCormick, MSN, FNP
Nurse Practitioner, Helping Hands Health Center, Chicago. While managing a busy family life, Ann McCormick recognized a need in her community and quit her full time job to spearhead the opening of a much-needed free health clinic for the uninsured – The Helping Hands Health Center . To get the clinic “up and running” McCormick volunteered full time as the clinic’s nurse practitioner, seeing hundreds of patients, and developed a grant from the VNA Foundation to fund future staffing. Now as a staff member at the center, McCormick provides comprehensive primary care, coordination of services and manages the clinic’s quality improvement program. She has become proficient in Spanish to meet her client population’s needs and is building alliances with other resources to assure Helping Hands’ sustainability.
Catharine E. Quinn, BSN, RNC
Health Educator/Community Nurse and Co-Facilitator of Latina Girls’ Club, Lake View High School – School Based Health Center, Chicago. “Cat” Quinn is recognized as an innovator in her field and has made an immeasurable impact at Lake View High School. As co-facilitator of The Latina Girls’ Club at Lake View High School, Quinn supports a program created by Latinas and for Latinas. Quinn, who is bilingual, is committed to helping her students make educated and informed health choices and encourages them to stay in school. The five original young women that helped found the Latina Girls Club are now in college – a testament to Quinn’s mentoring. Quinn is also sensitive to emerging student needs and has been instrumental in supporting teen mothers and helping the school launch a gay and straight alliance to promote tolerance. As the community health nurse, Quinn works with students and their families to assure health care resources are identified and fully utilized. See http://www.advocatehealth.com/system/jobsedu/edu/residency/immc/family/school.html.
All of the nominations for the VNA Foundation’s Super Star in Community Nursing Award were provided by colleagues and peers of the nominees and were judged by the VNA Foundation and a distinguished panel of public/community health nursing experts.