SON Hosts Hillman Scholars Program Annual Meeting

The UNC School of Nursing was pleased to host the annual meeting of the nation’s prestigious Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation last week.

The Scholars Program was established by the Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation in 2010 to identify and prepare — swiftly — the next generation of nurse scientists and scholars. Offered only at the universities of North Carolina, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the highly selective program is designed to furnish Hillman Scholars with BSN and PhD degrees in fewer than six years.

The theme of this year’s meeting was The Many Facets of Leadership: Research, Practice, Policy and Innovation. A busy three days of sessions kicked off in Chapel Hill on Tuesday, May 24 with a compelling discussion on diversity, inclusiveness and policy, led by Dr. Rumay Alexander, director of the SON’s Office of Inclusive Excellence and special assistant to the Chancellor.

The 2nd Annual Charles and Colleen Astrike Symposium on Health Care Solutions was held Tuesday evening, with panelists Linda Aiken, PhD, RN, FAAN, Cathy Madigan, DNP, RN, and Gwen Sherwood, PhD, RN, FAAN offering views on nursing leadership in quality and safety from the front lines of research, practice and education. A thoughtful question and answer session followed the moving testimony of the Astrike family’s experience with their mother’s nursing care — a tragic case, with consequences all the more grievous for having been due to errors in health care, and avoidable for her and her loved ones.

Dr. Bill Roper, dean of the UNC School of Medicine, vice chancellor for Medical Affairs and CEO of UNC Hospitals, was a highlight of Wednesday’s sessions, serving as the special guest in an informal discussion on Leadership at the Intersection of Research, Health Care and Policy, led by Dr. Aiken and UNC Hillman Scholar, Leah Morgan.

The meeting wrapped up midday Thursday following leadership development activities, social and networking opportunities and further sessions on leadership in the areas of research, policy and professional development.

“It was an honor to host such a thought-provoking and inspiring three days,” said Professor Cheryl Jones, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of the Hillman Scholars Program at UNC. “The annual meeting is only one of the highlights the Hillman Scholars Program brings to the universities that benefit from this recognition. However, we were especially honored to host this year’s event, which allowed us to showcase the many initiatives underway here at UNC-CH. We’re so grateful to all the speakers who made it such a rich opportunity for us all.”