Five Nurses Celebrated for Leadership and Innovation in Advancing Health Equity
2023 Equity-Minded Nurse Awards
Contact: Mary Boyle, Campaign for Action communications director, email@example.com
A nurse educator in Maryland who centers health equity in classroom innovations and program implementation.
A nurse practitioner in Wisconsin who thrives on solving big issues that patients face by using nurse-created and inspired solutions.
A nurse scientist in Texas passionate about ensuring that research evidence translates into policy and practice to support health equity for communities of color and those affected by trauma and substance use.
A nurse educator in Kentucky whose 30-plus year career has focused on community engagement to advance health equity.
A nurse researcher in Connecticut who leverages eHealth and community engagement to enhance cardiovascular health equity in gay and bisexual men with HIV.
These five accomplished nurses are the recipients of the inaugural Equity-Minded Nurse Awards from the AARP Center for Health Equity through NursingSM and the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that is building a healthier America through nursing. The awards are part of the Campaign’s work to implement the goals of the National Academy of Medicine report, the Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity, which explores nursing’s pivotal role in advancing health equity.
The awards are given in five categories and each is generously co-sponsored by a national nursing organization. The winners will receive a $1,000 prize each and paid travel to and recognition at the AARP Health Equity and Nursing Summit: Turning Commitments into Action, in Washington, DC, Oct. 31-Nov. 1.
The honorees are:
- Kamila A. Alexander, PhD, MPH, RN, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland
- Kelly Ayala, DNP, APRN, BSN, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Vicki Hines-Martin, PhD, MA(Ed), FAAN, University of Louisville (UL) School of Nursing; UL Health Science Center Office of Diversity & Inclusion; UL Center for Integrative Environmental Health Sciences; & School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Louisville, Kentucky
- Kelly McGlothen-Bell, PhD, RN, FAWHONN, UT Health San Antonio, School of Nursing, San Antonio, Texas
- S. Raquel Ramos, PhD, MSN, MBA, Yale University School of Nursing, West Haven, Connecticut
Kamila A. Alexander, PhD, MPH, RN, of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland, is the recipient of the Equity-Minded Nurse Educator Award. Co-sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, this award recognizes a nurse educator whose efforts demonstrate excellence in diversifying the nursing student body, inclusive teaching/learning practices, and whose teaching and/or curriculum design include topics that lead to the graduation of equity-minded nursing.
Alexander is an experienced educational leader and health equity scholar. Using innovative teaching methods and creative curricular programming, she aims to increase the number of nurses, scientists, and leaders who will transform health and advance equity. She is recognized as an outstanding mentor to a broad cadre of interdisciplinary students and fellows. Alexander’s community-engaged research promotes sexual and reproductive health equity through gender-based violence prevention and survivor-centered models for safety. She is a member of the inaugural cohort of Betty Irene Moore Fellowships for Nurse Leaders and Innovators.
Kelly Ayala, DNP, APRN, BSN, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the recipient of the Equity-Minded Nurse Practice Award. Co-sponsored by the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing/American Nurses Association, this award recognizes a nurse whose work with patients, families and/or communities exemplifies efforts to reduce health disparities and advance health equity.
Ayala is practicing as the regional director for clinical operations for a heart health tech startup, currently in stealth mode. She is also co-founder of Streamline Flow, a solution for identifying, tracking and managing patients throughout their healthcare journey. A learn-it-all and healthcare nerd, she enjoys creating process maps and looking for patterns to improve care for patients, particularly those in underserved or marginalized communities. She finds meaning and joy in working alongside her patients to improve health rather than react or solely provide sick care. Her absolute favorite part of practice is de-prescribing with patients who have successfully improved their own health.
Vicki Hines-Martin, PhD, MA(Ed), FAAN, University of Louisville (UL) School of Nursing; UL Health Science Center Office of Diversity & Inclusion; UL Center for Integrative Environmental Health Sciences; & School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Louisville, Kentucky, is the recipient of the Equity-Minded Nurse Leader Award. Co-sponsored by the American Organization for Nursing Leadership, this award recognizes a catalyst for change at the systems or organization level that address and dismantle policies and structures that contribute to disparities and inequities and contribute to an overall climate of inclusion that encourages the institution to focus on community needs.
Hines-Martin has been a faculty member at the University of Louisville School of Nursing since 1998 and her scholarship has focused on mental health, health equity, cultural diversity and community engaged partnerships. She conducts community-based participatory research with low income, under-served and multicultural populations and says community engagement is the mechanism through which she accomplishes most of her professional work.
Kelly McGlothen-Bell, PhD, RN, FAWHONN, UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, San Antonio, Texas, receives the Equity-Minded Nurse Rising Star Award. Co-sponsored by the National League for Nursing, this award recognizes a student or early career individual whose contributions show promise for ongoing impact in reducing health disparities and advancing health equity.
A nurse scientist, McGlothen-Bell’s research focuses on examining the interplay between social context, policy and practice dissemination and implementation, and reproductive justice for substance-affected families. Through a practice lens, she became aware of how discriminatory health and social policies often take advantage of, rather than support historically marginalized people. Thus, she is passionate about addressing social and systemic injustices that create health inequities among communities of color and those affected by trauma and substance use.
S. Raquel Ramos, PhD, MSN, MBA, Yale University School of Nursing, West Haven, Connecticut, is the winner of the Equity-Minded Nurse Research Award. Co-sponsored by the American Academy of Nursing, this award recognizes a nurse researcher whose scholarship advances the science and the body of knowledge that advances health equity. The research or scholarship of this award should be or have the potential to be disseminated widely as best or promising practices.
Ramos’ research examines how user-centered design and technology-driven, behavioral interventions can enhance cardiovascular health equity in sexual minority men of color with HIV and at risk of HIV-related comorbid conditions. As a protocol nurse for the Multicenter AIDS cohort study, the longest running study on the life course of HIV in gay and bisexual men, Ramos observed the connection between HIV and cardiovascular disease risk.
Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, who chairs the Campaign’s Strategic Advisory Committee, talked about the significance of this award and this inaugural cohort of awardees:
“There is a breadth of diversity among the awardees and the work they do that exemplifies the almost infinite ways in which nurses can and do advance health equity – every single day,” Villarruel said. “These outstanding nurses work in different parts of the country and with different populations, and each is clearly passionate about their work. It’s exciting how each honoree has found a unique way to weave together theory and practice, ideas and implementation. While they have been recognized in these five different areas, each of them is also a leader, educator, researcher, and practitioner in their own right – and they are all stars.”
Villarruel will join Susan C. Reinhard, PhD, RN, FAAN, Senior Vice President and Director, AARP Public Policy Institute and Chief Strategist, Center to Champion Nursing in America and Family Caregiving Initiatives, and Piri Ackerman-Barger, PhD, RN, FAAN, Senior Health Equity Fellow at the Campaign for Action and associate dean of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, as well as a clinical professor at the University of California Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, to recognize and celebrate the five awardees during a reception at the AARP Health Equity and Nursing Summit on October 31 in Washington, DC.
The Campaign defines equity-mindedness as so deeply understanding and embracing health equity, social justice, anti-racism, and cultural humility that these concepts emerge as normalized, automatic and default thought processes no matter the setting or the group of people they work with. You can read more about its Equity-Minded Nurse Initiative at https://campaignforaction.org/issues/the-equity-minded-nurse/.
More information about the awards can be found at https://campaignforaction.org/equity-minded-nurse-awards/.
The AARP Center for Health Equity through Nursing (A-CHEN) is a vehicle for change and a national resource for advancing health equity. It stimulates, promotes, and replicates actionable solutions that eliminate disparities and create better opportunities for people to live their healthiest lives possible.
The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action is a national initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and RWJF, working to implement the National Academy of Medicine’s evidence-based recommendations on the future of nursing. The Campaign includes Action Coalitions in nearly every state and the District of Columbia and a wide range of health care professionals, consumer advocates, policymakers, and the business, academic, and philanthropic communities. The Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and RWJF, serves as the coordinating entity for the Campaign.