Notable Nurses


Patricia W. Underwood B.S.N. '66 was honored in April with the School of Nursing's Distinguished Alumni Award for 2001. Established by the faculty of the nursing school, the award recognizes a graduate whose achievement adds to the distinction of nursing, the health professions, the school, and the university.

Underwood, who earned her master's in maternal child nursing at Boston University and her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, is director of research and faculty development at the Kirkhof School of Nursing, Grand Valley State University, in Allendale, Michigan. Her research interests include maternal child nursing and nursing education. She is a past recipient of the Michigan Nurses Association's Conduct and Utilization of Research in Nursing Scholar Award.

Underwood is currently first vice president of the American Nurses Association (ANA), where she chairs its board of governance and legislative committees. She has been a member of a state task force on rural health and has worked with the Division of Health and Human Services to modify rules governing reimbursement for nurse practitioners under Medicare. During her career, she worked with federal agencies and interest groups to develop a national agenda to address violence against women, and to frame national guidelines regarding breast-feeding. She is a past recipient of the Sigma Theta Tau Award for Excellence in Leadership in Nursing; the Search for Excellent in Nursing Award, presented by the Michigan Nurses Association; and the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Michigan Association of Governing Boards of Public Universities.

The annual Harriet Cook Carter Lecture was delivered by Sally Rankin M.S.N.'78, an expert on women and heart disease. Rankin, associate professor and director of the Family Nurse Practitioner program at the University of California-San Francisco, spoke on "The Heart of Matter: Heart Disease and Women." Recognized as one of the first nurses to note the distinctions between men and women in terms of presenting signs and symptoms, she is also among the first to notice differences between the sexes in their recovery from cardiac events. Rankin's Harriet Cook Carter Lecture included findings from her National Institute of Nursing Research-funded study, "African-American and Euro-American Women Adapting to MI." The principal investigator of five studies funded by the National Institutes of Health, Rankin is the author of Patient Education: Principles, and Practices, a textbook on patient education that is being released in its fourth revision.

The lecture series, conceived by the Class of 1963 and presented annually ever since, celebrates the life of Harriet Cook Carter, who worked on behalf of the Duke University health-care community and its Durham neighbors. As a nurse, Harriet Cook Carter was an honorary member of the Nursing School's alumni association, a co-founder of the Women's Auxiliary of Duke Medical Center, and a member of the Salvation Army and other civic groups.

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