The UNC SON Alumni Association recently conferred the 2018 Distinguished Alumna Award on Gwen Sherwood, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF (MSN ’70). Sherwood has a distinguished record in leading health professions education locally and globally. Professor and Associate Dean for Global Initiatives at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, she is a 1970 alum of the MSN program. She also earned a Diploma in Nursing from Georgia Baptist Hospital School of Nursing and an RN-BSN from North Carolina Central University and a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin.

The award commends graduates for their outstanding service in the area of nursing, either through their scholarly efforts, their promotion of health care, or their tireless service to the field of nursing.

Much of Sherwood’s career was spent in Texas where she moved from clinical positions to her initial academic appointment at the University of Texas Houston Health Science Center School of Nursing. There she progressed from part time instructor to Executive Associate Dean. Her scholarship built a model, the Houston Pain Outcome Instrument, to examine patient pain management from a multicultural perspective and developmentof a Spanish language tool, now used in several countries. She investigated the impact of spiritual dimensions of care, developing a program for nurses in the Texas Medical Center, still in operation. Pursuing her passion for expanding education, she led outreach on the Texas Mexico border, implementing the first nursing graduate program and a satellite distance education network in this geographically remote, underserved area. From this same model, she worked with the China Medical Board to design and implement the first nursing Master’s program in China and worked with USAID funded projects in Kazakhstan and Sakhalin.

Returning to UNC, she served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2005-2014, during which time the school opened the DNP program and completed exemplary re-accreditation visits for its academic programs. She helped create the global mission of the school by expanding the Visiting International Scholars program, advancing student learning experiences across the globe, and fostering faculty immersion in global health.

Dr. Sherwood worked with Dean Emeritus Linda Cronenwett as Co-Investigator/Co-PI to initiate QSEN, the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to transform education and practice to improve quality and safety. She was the nursing lead on the UNC and Duke University schools of medicine and nursing Interprofessional Patient Safety Education Collaborative to measure effectiveness of four teaching strategies on teamwork behaviors.

Dr. Sherwood has been a partner at IntraHealth International to scale up health professions education in Kenya and now helping to lead the North America hub for the global campaign for Nursing Now to advance the profile of nursing. She is past president and charter member of the International Association for Human Caring and Vice President of Sigma Theta Tau International the Honor Society for Nursing. She has been Visiting Professor in Thailand, led workshops in China, Sweden, Thailand, Kenya, Taiwan, and Japan.

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