Gator Nurse Greats- INSPIRE

We  celebrate our alumni and turn to the third of our tri-parte motto: Inspire. All Gator Nurses inspire so many around them through their work as clinicians, educators, researchers and scholars.

Evelyn Mickle

Pioneer Evelyn Mickle Inspires Generations of Students

To say Evelyn Moore Mickle’s (BSN 1967) journey to becoming a nurse was difficult would be an understatement. As the first African-American graduate of the UF College of Nursing, her path to earning her degree was fraught with challenges and struggles of feeling alone and unsupported.

Now almost 50 years after her graduation, after a long and difficult road of coming to terms with her experiences, she is ready to tell her story and to say she is finally proud to be a Gator Nursing graduate. Part of that healing has been the warm embrace and welcome that Dean Anna McDaniel has shown her since beginning as dean.

“Three months after she began her deanship, Dr. McDaniel asked to meet with me. I am sure she had so much on her plate, but she made meeting me a priority. She wanted to know my story and listened. I saw how much she cared about me and my experience, and that has really touched my heart. When she introduced me and told my story from memory at the Association of Black Alumni event, astonished, I felt welcomed by the UF College of Nursing,” Mickle said.

Mickle can still remember how she felt on her first day of nursing school. She vividly remembers walking down University Avenue, across campus, down the hill and up to J. Hillis Miller Health Center and anxious she was about finding her classes, obtaining her supplies like books and her uniforms. She never worried about how she’d be treated.

When Mickle, a transfer student, entered nursing school in 1965, it was the height of the Civil Rights movement in the U.S., and tensions were high. Only the year prior, the Civil Rights Act was signed and allowed the federal government to enforce desegregation and prohibits discrimination in public facilities, in government and in employment. In March of 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr. led a famed Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery to raise awareness for the difficulty for black voters in the South.

“There were five African-Americans in that class. We felt totally isolated. We only had each other. It was a very difficult experience,” Mickle said.

Of the five, Mickle was the first one who graduated. She relied on the support the first African-American student in the College of Medicine, staff, and nursing assistants at Shands and an HSC librarian that would make sure the books she needed were put aside. Despite that, the challenges were difficult.

“Many nights I cried myself to sleep,” Mickle said. “Without my church family, I would not have made it.”

That family was at Gainesville’s Mount Carmel Baptist Church, a place Evelyn and her husband, the Hon. Stephan Mickle, are still very active. Stephan Mickle was the first black undergraduate degree recipient of UF and second UF law graduate.

Mickle recalled her final semester, which was public health nursing, where she was given more patient cases than any other student. Lacking any transportation, she found a way to visit 5 patients across town, some of whom lacked basic health care and resources. But she persevered and got them the help they needed.

“Besides the challenge of being in the college and the rigor of the nursing curriculum, Evelyn bravely faced the beginning of the integration of blacks at UF,” said Professor Emeritus Jodi Irving, a young faculty member when Mickle was a student. “One only has to know about the history of those times to have an inkling of what she faced. She is a pioneer in her own right. I have great respect for her and hold her in regard for her continued support of the college”

A long-time leader in the Greater Gainesville Black Nurses Association, her professional nursing career was diverse and distinguished. Mickle’s work experience includes psychiatry, pediatrics, internal medicine, juvenile detention, Day Care, school nursing, clinic supervisor, health education and volunteer. She was a strong role model and positive influence on many PK Yonge students during her tenure there as the school nurse. She gladly supervised UF nursing students during their Community Health rotation.

“I believe that facing the adversities as I did and my struggles helped to make me who I am today,” Mickle said. “It has made me a stronger person and has allowed me to rely on my faith to see me through.”

In 2013, Mickle received the Association of Black Alumni “Gator Pioneer Award” on October 11, 2013. Mickle was honored as the first black graduate of the University of Florida College of Nursing. Dean McDaniel attended the awards ceremony and also gave a testimonial on behalf of Mickle at a reception held at Emerson Alumni Hall.

“We are so proud to count Evelyn as a Gator Nurse, and as Dean, I am honored to also count her as a friend and trusted advisor,” McDaniel said. “She is so inspirational to me as she is to so many fellow nurses.”

In 2015, Dean McDaniel was honored to officially “pin” Mickle during a UF ceremony honoring Black History Month. This constant support shown by Dean McDaniel and Professor Irving and Professor Emeritus Jo Snider has allowed Mickle to embrace her degree and her college.

“I am finally proud to say I am a Gator Nurse,” Mickle said. “If my story inspires anyone facing adversity in their life, I am honored.”

Gator Nurse Greats- INSPIRE

Albanese-O'NeillAnastasia Albanese-O’Neill (BSN 2009, MSN 2013, PhD 2014) is an expert in the management of pediatric type 1 diabetes. She is a nationally board certified diabetes educator through NCDBE and a nationally certified pediatric nurse practitioner through PNCB. Albanese-O’Neill is on faculty and provides patient care at the UF Diabetes Institute. Prior to that she was on faculty at the UF College of Nursing. In April, Albanese-O’Neill was on a speaker panel that testified at the White House addressing diabetes as part of her advocacy efforts on behalf of the American Diabetes Association.

Beyond her professional background, Albanese-O’Neill has a personal connection to Type I diabetes. Her daughter was diagnosed with the disease at 16 months old and since then she has become an active diabetes advocate, currently serving on multiple national boards and committees related to her research and clinical practice in Type 1 diabetes. She was inspired to study nursing after her daughter was diagnosed.

Albanese-O’Neill conducts research on the role of technology in Type 1 diabetes management, and her interests include smartphone and tablet technology interventions.

BBWBrenda Barton-Wheaton (BSN 1971, MSN 1973) is an independent wellness and fitness individual who is a retired mental health services manager. She has her master’s degree in psychiatric-mental health nursing. Barton-Wheaton committed a $3 million gift in 2012 along with her husband Richard to the College of Nursing to fund education and research focused on quality of life for patients and their families dealing with mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.

“Our vision for this gift is to support talented individuals in their efforts to obtain an education and conduct research to discover optimal ways to provide excellent care for individuals with mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder and their families,” Barton-Wheaton said. “We hope that education and research leads to better care for patients and that their families are better educated regarding these conditions and more able to advocate for optimal care.”

BoyingtonDee Dee Boyington (MSN 1986, PhD 1997) is retired from the Moffitt Cancer Center where she served as Director of Nursing Research and was a courtesy faculty member at the University of South Florida. At Moffitt, Boyington was responsible for building the nursing research capacity through development of research skills of direct care staff nurses; design of studies that investigate clinical problems; oversight for all nursing research studies; and dissemination of study findings. She received funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research to design and test a computerized expert system to deliver evidence- based interventions to women with bladder control problems and more recently was co-investigator on a NCI funded project to investigate urinary symptoms in breast cancer survivors. In addition, Boyington has applied principles of online teaching and of adult education in graduate level coursework delivered by electronic learning platforms.

In addition, Boyington is a loyal Gator Nurse alumna, having served as a longtime active member of the UF Nursing Alumni Council.

ChamingsPatricia Chamings (BSN 1964, MSN 1965) After graduating from UF, Chamings worked as a supervisory nurse at Shands for four years. In 1969, she moved to Nashville to teach at Vanderbilt University Hospital. In 1970, Patricia became a captain in the U.S. Air Force in Murfreesboro, TN. She joined the Tennessee Air National Guard’s Air Evacuation Unit in 1974. Patricia worked as an air evacuation nurse, flight instructor, flight examiner, and educational coordinator until 1984, when she moved to Atlanta to teach at Emory University. Patricia then served with a detachment of the 13th Contingency Hospital at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia until 1987. In addition to her Guard duty, Patricia served as interim dean at the School of Nursing at University of North Carolina Greensboro from 1985 to 1990.

In 1991, she was called to active duty during Operation Desert Storm to help set up a hospital facility at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. She was an individual mobilization augmentee at the Pentagon until her retirement. In 2008, Chamings established a fund to support scholarships and fellowships for nursing students in honor of those in her family who were nurses.

CourageMyrna Courage, PhD, RN, (MSN 1973) is a professor emeritus of the UF College of Nursing and served as Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs from 1996-2003. She served on the UF CON faculty since 1973 and was appointed an administrator in 1979. During her academic career, she authored books and publications on nursing education, psychiatric/mental health conditions in the elderly and stress management in students. Courage mentored many students who credit her support for their success in the nursing program. She received many HRSA nurse traineeships to benefit the college as well as grants to boost technology and instructional resources in the classroom. Courage served on UF’s Curriculum Committee and was an active member of the minority mentor program.

“What I am most proud of in my years at the College was in working with my colleagues to provide optimal learning environments for students. Our students inspire us as faculty to prepare them to meet the challenges of education in health care,” Courage said.

FilerVivian Filer (BSN 1972) is now retired from nursing and served as a pediatric nurse at UF Health Shands Hospital and a Professor of Nursing and Assistant Director of Health Sciences at Santa Fe College.  She is founder and past president of the Greater Gainesville Black Nurses, Inc. Although retired, she remains one of Gainesville’s most active community members, especially in lower-income neighborhoods. Filer is the champion of the Springhill Neighborhood Watch Association where she helps ensure the safety and well-being of one of Gainesville’s oldest historically African-American communities. She is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center (CCMCC). Filer is a member of the Community Redevelopment Agency’s (CRA) Eastside Advisory Board and works with the Alachua County Library District’s Board of Trustees.

For many years, Filer has been a very popular storyteller and singer in Gainesville. She performs for all types of audiences for the sheer joy of performing, including performances for government dignitaries, elementary school children and all groups in between.

Filer was a leader in fighting for integration of Alachua General Hospital, and local businesses through her work with local civil rights groups. She was the recipient of the 2008 Dorothy M. Smith Nursing Leadership Award in Service.

Karen Hanson, MSN, RN (BSN 1966, MSN 1986) retired from nursing in 2008 after a long and distinguished career in health care administration, most previously as the Director of Accreditation Services at Florida Hospital.  Hanson spent 22 years at Florida Hospital, directing quality improvement and managing Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) accreditation services for the 1785-bed, 7-campus hospital, which includes 14 urgent care centers. Among her key accomplishments include coordinating JCAHO surveys for the entire hospital.

In 2002 and 2012, Hanson was named an Outstanding Quality Professional by the statewide Florida Association for Healthcare Quality. Hanson was part of core group which was responsible for bringing the University of Florida Master’s in Nursing program to the Orlando area in 1985 where it remained until 2000. She is an active member of the UF Nursing Alumni Council.

JonesMark Jones, BSN, (BSN 1985) is the President and an original shareholder of Ven-A-Care of the Florida Keys, Inc., an infusion pharmacy that has been in business since 1987. Jones and his company have been active in false claims act cases since the early 1990s. In the late 1980s, Mr. Jones jointly founded Ven-A-Care, which delivered drug therapy to patients, many who were afflicted with HIV/AIDS, in their homes, allowing them to maintain a more normal lifestyle. Mr. Jones served as the home health nurse who visited many of these patients. Through a twist of fate, he and his Ven-A-Care colleagues found themselves investigating false claims issued by a competing pharmaceutical company. Ven-A-Care filed a false claims lawsuit as whistleblowers acting on behalf of the government.

Since that time, Mr. Jones and his partners have consulted on many cases involving pharmaceutical fraud and helped provide information for lawsuits. Ven-A-Care’s work has brought back more than $1 billion dollars to the public fiduciary. Mr. Jones and his company have personally testified before Congress on price reporting issues concerning Medicare and have been commended by Congress for their work in the false claims act area.

LurieAnn Lurie (BSN 1966) administers the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation in Chicago that provides funding for projects she is passionate about and are aligned with a template she and her late husband Bob developed before he died. While supporting charitable endeavors in Chicago and throughout the world, she has developed a particular interest in funding medical treatment, research, education and prevention.

Lurie moved to Chicago in 1973 where she married Bob Lurie. Before starting her family, she worked in public health and pediatric intensive care nursing in rural Florida and at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Lurie founded and served as president of Africa Infectious Disease Village Clinics, Inc. (AID Village Clinics), a registered U.S. public charity focused on providing free quality medical care and public health services to rural communities in southeastern Kenya until its closing in late 2012.

In 2010, Lurie was appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor, Preventive Medicine, at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. In 2009, UF awarded her an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.

MoorePatti Moore, MSN, ARNP, (BSN 1974, MSN 1982) is the founder of The Watershed Group, a nationwide strategic consulting, speaking and coaching company based on hospice concepts of care, including compassion, wholeness, dignity, respect and empowerment.  Moore helps organizations manage change into positive growth and financial stability. Prior to founding The Watershed Group, Moore was the Executive Director of Hospice of North Central Florida (now Haven Hospice), leading that organization to a position of national prominence— building the ET York Hospice Care Center exclusively serving terminally ill patients and their loved ones.

Moore began her career in the nursing profession. She was a surveyor/consultant for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations, a former president of Florida Hospices and Palliative Care, Inc., a founding member of the National Hospice Work Group and board member at Oak Hammock CCRC in Gainesville. She has spoken widely on issues of caring for the dying and end of life care. Moore is author of No Mission No Margin: Creating a Successful Hospice with Care and Competence published in 2014 and co-author of the book How Goes It with Your Soul, published in 2001.

MoodyLinda Moody, PhD, MSN, MPH, FAAN, (BSN 1965, MSN 1969) retired in 2007 as a distinguished professor emeritus from the University of South Florida. she previously served as a faculty member and co-director of the PhD program at the UF College of Nursing. While at UF, she started the first computer lab for faculty and graduate students and was one of two faculty members to first receive NIH research funding in 1984.

At USF, Dr. Moody served as Director of Research and Associate Dean of Graduate studies.  In 1997, she was instrumental in developing the school’s PhD nursing program after receiving a federal grant from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Dr.  Moody’s research interests have long been focused in the areas of palliative care and end of life, especially aging issues. She is also interested in the development and testing of clinical informatics applications to improve patient care and patient safety.  Having received numerous state and national awards, including the Florida nurses Association Researcher Award and the university of south Florida Distinguished Scholar Award, Dr.  Moody remains active in research and consulting and serves as an editorial board member of Holistic Nursing Practice, Nursing Science Quarterly, and Healthcare Quality of Life International.

OlsonGayle Olson, BSN, (BSN 1961) graduated from the University of Florida College of Nursing’s second graduating class and worked at Shands Hospital as a psychiatric nurse after graduating. She relocated to the west coast and worked in psychiatric nursing in a state and private psychiatric hospital. Gayle then sold real estate in Silicon Valley. Gayle and her husband Gary now reside in Oak Hammock in Gainesville and are loyal supporters of UF and the College of Nursing. Their giving to the College totals $3 million. One million dollars of the gift will be used to establish the “Margaret Giles Boyer Housel Professorship,” and the remaining $2 million will be used to establish the “Margaret Giles Boyer Housel Nursing Fellowship” to support fellowship awards for graduate students in the College of Nursing. The gift is in honor of Olson’s mother, Margaret Giles Boyer Housel, who graduated from the Kahler School of Nursing in Rochester, Minnesota, and who was committed to advanced nursing education.

“It is our desire that the College of Nursing have funds to attract and retain excellent teachers and top students who will go on to make significant contributions in research and teaching,” Olson said.

RiversRose Rivers, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FNAP (BSN 1988, MSN 1999, PhD 1995) is the Founder, Principal and Primary Consultant for Restoring Joy to Leadership, a Christian Spiritually based organization dedicated to helping leaders maximize their potential to make a difference in the lives of others as well as their own. Rose has served as Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Jacksonville, Florida and Shands Healthcare (now UF Health), Gainesville, Florida. She is an active American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet TM appraiser.

Starting at age 16 in a Florida nursing home, Rivers advanced steadily through a series of nursing positions and educational degrees, most of them in Gainesville at the University of Florida and its primary teaching hospital, the 576-bed Shands Hospital at the University of Florida. Rivers has broken many barriers and received numerous accolades during her nursing and leadership career. An honorary Rose Rivers Scholarship was created to honor Rivers at UF Health Shands.


Rebeca Siguenza Guatemala, BSN, RN, (BSN 2016) is a recent BSN graduate who now works on the ____ unit of UF Health Shands. While a student, she was on the Academic Partnership Unit in UF Health Shands hospital. She is originally from El Salvador but moved to St. Augustine in 2005. Siguenza Guatemala performed many hours of community service in high school and graduated with over 500 hours of community service and first two years of college. These activities include 4 years of volunteering and translating at Wildflower clinic for the underserved in St. John’s County. She also volunteered in the library system as well as international projects. Her future career plans include becoming a family nurse practitioner and continuing service to the community and international outreach to provide care for other people in countries that need these health services.

SmithAnn Pauline Smith (MSN 1967) practiced staff nursing and first line management in Iowa, Texas, and Pennsylvania before earning her MN at UF.  Upon completion of her master’s degree, she was offered a faculty position by Dean Dorothy Smith.  She taught Medical-Surgical Nursing to junior students for five years as well as the clinical supervision of the orthopedic inpatient service.

Ann served as North Florida Regional Medical Center’s first Assistant Director for Nursing Service for four years as one of the founding employees.  In 1977 she assumed the Director position until 1990. Beginning in 1990 she began the formal Risk Management Program and retired from North Florida Regional Medical Center in 1995.

Since retiring, she maintains an active schedule of participating in the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida which included interviews with retired college of nursing faculty. She has coordinated the Veterans History Project, collecting oral histories of veterans of military service.  Smith is also an active member of the UF Nursing Alumni Council.


Jo Snider (MSN 1965) is Professor Emeritus of the UF College of Nursing, where she retired in 2014.  She taught more than 6,000 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral students in her 46 years at the University of Florida College of Nursing. At the time of her retirement, she taught in both the undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as directed the undergraduate Honors Program.

Snider was recognized year after year by students and colleagues for her effective and innovative teaching. On 16 separate years, undergraduate students voted her as “Outstanding Faculty Member” and she received five “Teacher of the Year” awards. Snider developed one of the first undergraduate honors research programs in the country in 1981.  In addition, she has consistently demonstrated a distinguished record of scholarly accomplishments in the field of psychiatric‐mental health nursing.

In honor of her career, the Martha “Jo” Snider Fellowship was established by a former student, to provide financial assistance to College of Nursing students pursuing graduate degrees in psychiatric-mental health nursing.

Susan Stone, MSN, RN (MSN 1990) has worked in many areas of health care including operating room, bedside nursing, office nursing, blood bank nursing, school nursing, and higher education. For 28 years, Stone was a Professor of Nursing at Valencia College, retiring in 2011. Her emphasis included adult care and leadership theory. Stone is proficient in online and classroom teaching. She is a published author and has presented frequently at both state and national meetings. She also owned several health-related companies providing marketing and consulting services.

Stone served as a founding board member for BETA and Health Care Center for the Homeless. She also served as President of Florida Nurses Association District 8 and was a long-term Ombudsman for the State of Florida. She is still working as a health screener and coach for several companies serving Florida residents. Now retired, Stone continues to remain actively involved in several community associations. She is past president of the UF Nursing Alumni Council.

TuckInez Tuck, PhD, RN, MBA, M.Div. (MN 1972) is the Dean of the School of Nursing at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, Massachusetts. She assumed her position at MGH in March 2016 after serving as Dean of the School of Nursing at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina and Associate Dean and Professor of Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University. In addition, Dr. Tuck’s career in academic nursing as a research scholar, teacher, mentor and leader included appointments at the University of North Carolina campuses at Chapel Hill and Greensboro and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Tuck conducts research focusing on healing, spiritual care and forgiveness with individuals suffering with chronic or terminal illnesses, stigmatized conditions, and the devastating life event of death of a family member by homicide. She has published on the topics of spirituality and healing. She serves as an instructor for nurse leaders enrolled in the National League for Nursing LEAD program. Tuck has been recognized as an Outstanding Gator alumnus.

williamsMyra Dee Williams, PhD, RN, (BSN 1972, MSN 1973) retired from the UF College of Nursing after 35 years of service in 2014. She had been the Executive Associate Dean and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the College of Nursing since July 1996. Williams also oversaw Archer Family Health Care, (AFHC), the College of Nursing’s comprehensive, nurse-managed health center.

Williams served in a number of faculty and administrative roles, including Director of the College’s Baccalaureate Studies.  In 2001, Williams was instrumental in bringing Archer Family Health Care to the small, rural town of Archer just outside of Gainesville. The nurse-managed health center, which celebrated its 10th year in 2011, partners with a local rural community to expand access to high-quality care for the underserved. Now a nationally recognized model, AFHC has an average of more than 6,000 visits per year. Williams also oversaw the implementation of a state-of-the-art electronic health record system.