UIHC, College of Nursing faculty inducted into American Academy of Nursing Fellows Class

Two University of Iowa nurses were inducted into the American Academy of Nursing’s 2020 Class of Fellows. The distinction comes from their individual contributions to their field.



Eleanor Hildebrandt, News Reporter

The American Academy of Nursing will induct two University of Iowa nurses into its 2020 Class of Fellows later this year.

UI College of Nursing Assistant Professor Barbara St. Marie and UI Hospitals and Clinics Chief Nurse Executive Cindy Dawson were selected in August to join the Academy’s fellows, alongside 230 nurse leaders in the U.S. and 13 other countries. 

St. Marie started at the UI when she took on a postdoctoral fellowship in 2012 under Associate Dean for Faculty Keela Herr, who said St. Marie has had a prolific career as a clinical expert in her field.

“Before [St. Marie] came to Iowa, she had done a lot in the field of pain management, particularly with patients who have a substance-abuse disorder as a clinician leader and a policy advocate,” Herr said. “When she came to Iowa, she wanted to become a researcher and to try and make change from that perspective. Since then, she has developed as a scientist with important contributions [to her field].”

St. Marie’s research surrounds pain management in individuals with substance-use disorders, specifically those with opioid-use disorders. St. Marie said being a part of the academy will allow her to have a broader impact both nationwide and around the world, and to share her work with more people in her field.

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“Being part of the academy means that I have access to influential leaders in the nursing profession around the world,” she said. “It means I’m able to network with people that are making an impact in a variety of models and interventions of care. It means I’m part of a group that is working to advance nursing and making changes that advance health-care policy in my area of study and many more.”

Beyond being a researcher, St. Marie said the classes she instructs in the UI College of Nursing and her experience as a clinician have allowed her balance in her career and a different perspective on research in her field.

Dawson, who was also selected to join the academy, has been at the university for 44 years and will retire in December. She said her work in otorhinolaryngology – study of the head and neck – and founding of the local chapter of the Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nursing at the UI have allowed her to help others understand how they can advocate for nurses.

Dawson said she was selected to be a nurse representative by the American Academy of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Surgery’s clinical practice guidelines group before she became UIHC Chief Nurse Executive.

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“I did that for a number of years and found it so rewarding because … we developed over 13 national guidelines for the care of the otolaryngology patient, and nursing was involved in every one of those guidelines,” Dawson said. “Those clinical practice guidelines have reached people, not only in Iowa, but across the nation and the world. During that time, I assured that nurses have a voice at the table.”

Herr said St. Marie and Dawson’s appointments to the Academy’s Class of Fellows showcases how uniquely situated the UI is, with Dawson’s nomination coming from the impact she has had at UIHC and St. Marie’s from her clinical advocacy for a select population of patients.

“This is one of the professional organizations of nursing with high impact on serving the public and the profession by focusing on health policy impacting practice,” Herr said. “Nurses are selected to be a fellow when they have demonstrated in their careers outstanding contributions to nursing and health care. It’s very prestigious to be selected and it’s competitive … It’s clear that our university has faculty that are leaders in the field of nursing and health care and [St. Marie and Dawson] are two of them.”