College of Nursing at UTHSC Awards 2013 Outstanding Alumna, Most Supportive Alumna
Memphis, Tenn. (May 1, 2013) – On Friday, May 3, more than 200 alumni, students and friends of the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee
Health Science Center (UTHSC) are expected at the Memphis Marriott Downtown. As part of Nursing Alumni Weekend, the group will celebrate presentation
of the college’s 2013 Outstanding Alumna and Most Supportive Alumna Awards. The Outstanding Alumna is Patricia D. Cunningham, DNSC, APN PMHNP/CNS-BC,
FNP-BC (’01), an associate professor and UTHSC faculty member since 1992. The Most Supportive Alumna is Susan R. Jacob, RN (’93), PhD, who recently
retired as interim dean of the college after more than nine years at UTHSC and a nursing career that spans more than four decades.
Since she was a child growing up as the eldest of four siblings in Philadelphia, Pa., Patricia Cunningham knew she wanted to be a nurse. After
receiving her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Temple University, she pursued her MSN in psychiatric/mental health nursing from Indiana University and
post-master’s preparation as a family nurse practitioner from UTHSC. She graduated in the inaugural class of the UTHSC College of Nursing’s Doctor of
Nursing Science Program in 2001.
Over three decades, her nursing journey includes working as a staff nurse in psychiatric hospitals, as a staff development coordinator for the
psychiatric units of a large general hospital, and as a mental health/clinical nurse specialist in a large critical care division of a general
hospital. She has worked integrating mental health in primary care settings for more than 15 years.
Since 1992, Dr. Cunningham has been a UTHSC College of Nursing faculty member. Currently, she is associate professor and Doctor of Nursing Practice
(DNP) psychiatric/mental health option coordinator. She is certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center as an adult psychiatric/mental
health clinical nurse specialist, a psychiatric family nurse practitioner, and a family nurse practitioner.
“This level of care is both challenging and interesting,” said Cunningham. “I assist in making positive changes in the lives of psychiatric patients.
My service to the evolution, education, and role of performing as an advanced practice psychiatric nurse is extremely gratifying.”
In 2011, she received the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) Award for Excellence in Practice. She is currently president-elect of APNA. In
her years as a faculty member at the College of Nursing, Cunningham has received numerous accolades, including the Excellence in Teaching Award,
Outstanding Teacher Award, The Golden Apple Award, the Psychiatric Nursing Award from the Tennessee Nurses Association, and the Faculty Alumni Award
from the UTHSC College of Nursing. In addition to her roles at UTHSC, she volunteers with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for Critical Incident
In recent months, Susan Jacob, RN, PhD, retired after nearly a decade with UTHSC. She retired as interim dean for the UTHSC College of Nursing. She now
serves as an educational consultant for Faith Community Nursing at the Church Health Center and as a doting grandmother.
Dr. Jacob, whose name has been attached to nursing education for nearly four decades, chose nursing as a major at West Virginia University in the late
’60s. She holds the distinction of being the first hospice nurse and hospice administrator in Memphis. In 1982, she received the John W. Runyan Award
for her efforts toward the development of hospice.
With her bachelor’s degree in nursing, Jacob went on to pursue a master’s degree in the same field from San Jose State University and a doctorate from
UTHSC before serving as a tenured professor at the Loewenberg School of Nursing and Union University, where she also served as dean of nursing. In
2003, she joined the UTHSC College of Nursing to lead efforts to re-establish the baccalaureate nursing program, which was officially reactivated in
the fall of 2012. Prior to being named interim dean in 2011, she was executive associate dean in the UTHSC College of Nursing for eight years.
Experienced in curriculum development and teaching/learning in both the classroom and clinical settings, Dr. Jacob is also the co-author/co-editor of a
leading Nursing Issues textbook in its 6th edition, and author of numerous journal articles. She has consistently served in leadership roles
in Sigma Theta Tau International and the Tennessee Nurses Association. She is currently a board member on the Tennessee Action Coalition, the Nursing
Institute of the Mid South, a founding member of the Southern Region Coalition, and an evaluator for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Among her many community activities, Jacob also serves as a member of the Professional Advisory Committee for Methodist Alliance Health Services, and
chair of the Mid South Leadership Team for One by One Ministries USA.
“I am proud of the opportunities that I have had to mentor students and junior faculty. Many of my students are now doctorally prepared and are in
significant leadership positions,” said Jacob, who is the 2013 American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Advocate State Award for Excellence recipient.
As Tennessee’s only public, statewide academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is to bring the
benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region, by
pursuing an integrated program of education, research, clinical care, and public service. Offering a broad range of postgraduate and selected
baccalaureate training opportunities, the main UTHSC campus is located in Memphis and includes six colleges: Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry,
Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains cohorts of medicine, pharmacy and/or allied health students –
in addition to medical residents and fellows — at its major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. Founded in 1911, during its more than 100
years, UT Health Science Center has educated and trained more than 56,000 health care professionals in academic settings and health care facilities
across the state. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.