More than 200 people attended the second-annual NightinGala celebration of nursing hosted by the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center on Friday, May 4. Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, PhD, RN, FAAN, U.S. Deputy Surgeon General, was the featured speaker at the gala held at The Great Hall and Conference Center in Germantown to salute the accomplishments of nursing and the impact of the profession on the community.
Nurses and other health care professionals, as well as nursing students, from Memphis, Shelby County, and beyond, attended the dinner and silent auction.
A former nurse officer in the U.S. Army, Rear Admiral Trent-Adams spoke about the future of nursing. Earlier in the day, she met with UTHSC nursing students at a luncheon on campus.
“We were honored to have Deputy Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams as the guest speaker for our second-annual NightinGala,” said Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN, FAANP, dean of the UTHSC College of Nursing. “It was an honor to have Mayors Mark Luttrell and Jim Strickland, Shelby County Commissioner Heidi Shafer, and so many others join us to celebrate all the great things nurses do for our community. Nurses comprise the largest number of individuals in the health care sector, making a positive impact on so many lives. It was a pleasure seeing so many nurses and leaders in our community coming together as a way to say thank you. I couldn’t ask for a better way to start our celebration of Nurses Week.”
During the gala, the Dr. John W. Runyan, Jr., Community Nursing Award was presented to Cathy R. Taylor, DrPH, MSN, RN, dean of the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing at Belmont University in Nashville. The award, named for a Memphian and internationally recognized advocate for the role of nurses in community health care, celebrates a champion of the efforts of nurses in the community.
Dr. Taylor holds a doctor of public health degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in health outcomes at Vanderbilt University. She earned a master’s degree in nursing from the UTHSC College of Nursing, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Alabama, Huntsville.
She served as assistant commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health’s Bureau of Health Services Administration. Prior to that, she was on the faculty at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing as director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance Disease Management Program, and has held administrative and clinical positions at Alvin C. York VAMC, Fentress County Hospital, Middle Tennessee Medical Center and Hendersonville Hospital.
In 2006, Dr. Taylor was appointed by then-Governor Phil Bredesen to chair the Tennessee Center for Diabetes Prevention and Health Improvement Board. In addition, she has served as a consultant on projects for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau Leadership Institute, and China’s Ministry of Health.
Proceeds from the gala support the efforts of the Center for Community Partnerships and Nursing Innovation in the College of Nursing. The center is designed to develop sustainable partnerships with clinical, research, and service institutions in the Mid-South to advance health care, foster innovative nursing strategies, reduce health disparities, and improve patient outcomes.
The NightinGala was held in conjunction with National Nurses Week, which runs through May 12.