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Betts and Mills Honored by UTHSC College of Nursing


UTHSC will recognize two exceptional alumna at it upcoming Alumni Awards and Reunion Luncheon on Friday, April 22 at the Holiday-Inn Select Memphis East.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Nursing will recognize two exceptional alumna at its upcoming Alumni Awards and Reunion Luncheon this Friday, April 22 at the Holiday Inn-Select Memphis East.

Virginia Trotter Betts, MSN, JD, RN, FAAN, who currently serves on Governor Phil Bredesen’s cabinet as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, will receive the 2005 Outstanding Alumna Award. Brenda C. Mills, PhD, a retired faculty member from the UTHSC College of Nursing faculty, will be presented with the 2005 Most Supportive Alumna Award.

Betts, who is a nationally recognized leader in health and mental health policy, a psychiatric mental health nurse and an attorney, has also completed postdoctoral studies at the Institute of Medicine as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow. She is currently on leave from her positions as director for health policy and professor of nursing at UTHSC to serve on the governor’s cabinet. Prior to her UTHSC appointment, Betts served as the Senior Advisor on Nursing and Policy to the secretary and as assistant secretary of Health for the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Recognized internationally as an expert on nursing and the healthcare workforce, Betts has received numerous honors and awards including the American Psychiatric Nurses Association’s (APNA) Psychiatric Nurse of the Year and the APNA Presidential Award in 2000. In 2003, she was selected to be a Fellow of the National Association of Public Administration.

Dr. Mills served the UTHSC College of Nursing from1974 to 1995 as assistant professor in numerous positions including co-director of the pediatric nurse practitioner program, and a joint appointment with the City of Memphis, the Pediatric Ambulatory Clinic and the UT Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities.

Dr. Mills also served as a flight nurse in the U. S. Air Force Air National Guard from 1971 to 1991, retiring as commander in 1994.

Dr. Mills has received the Tennessee Nursing Graduate Scholar recognition, Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, the John W. Runyan Community Health Nursing Award and the Tennessee Nursing Association Political Leadership Award.

Donna Hathway, PhD, dean of the UTHSC College of Nursing, commented, “Virginia Trotter Betts and Brenda Mills are role models for the entire nursing profession; both in their professional careers and the way they have chosen to live their lives. Each has contributed immensely to UTHSC students’ educational experience and to the growth and development of the College of Nursing.”