We pay tribute to 20 alumni who embody the spirit of the second attribute in our tri-parte motto: Lead. Gator Nurses are leaders in every part of health care—whether as deans of schools of nursing or as esteemed nurse researchers or as excellent clinicians at the bedside.
Aiken Builds on Gator Nurse Roots to Carve Out Career as a Nurse Leader
“Leadership is having a vision and knowing how to successfully execute it and serving as a mentor and role model to help others reach their potential.”
These words, spoken by one of the UF College of Nursing’s most accomplished alumni, is an embodiment of how much Linda Aiken, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN (BSN 1964, MN 1966) understands the full scope of leadership.
She came to the College as an 18 year old undergraduate when the College was relatively new being led by our Founding Dean Dorothy Smith, recognized now as a pioneer of the profession and nursing education.
“I got to know her as an 18 year old undergraduate, an indication of her commitment to the next generation of nurse leaders,” Aiken said. “She expected each of her UF students to become change agents. “
Aiken considered Smith a mentor over her lifetime, challenging Aiken to be bold, intellectually curious, and to take on national leadership roles but always with a commitment to improving clinical care outcomes for patients.
Aiken also credits her mother, Betty Harman Warner, for being her first role model and leader. Warner has a classroom at UF College of Nursing named in her honor.
Her time at UF gave her a great general education with a foundation in the sciences and a factor for later success in research. She received strong clinical education which gave her confidence and she credits as a guiding force in her career.
“Faculty members at UF, not only in nursing but beyond, have facilitated my work and career long after I graduated,” Aiken said. “The Gator Nation has been an important source of networking that has greatly facilitated various projects I have undertaken over the years.”
Following her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UF, she pursued a PhD in sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and a postdoctoral research fellowship for medical sociology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After she completed her fellowship she had the opportunity to join the program staff at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which at the time was new and the largest in health care.
“I got a real life education in health policy research. I worked closely for its visionary president and vice president and published high impact papers that allowed me to go to UPenn as an endowed full professor,” Aiken said.
At Penn, Aiken viewed the dean at the time Claire Fagin as the most visionary nursing leader since Dorothy Smith. Fagin implemented and sustained the unification of nursing education and service that Smith had pioneered at UF.
“Dr. Fagin had the great talent of making everyone she mentored, including me, believe that they could accomplish big things and they did!”
Now after more than 50 years after her graduation from UF, Aiken is the director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, and The Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor of Nursing and professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She conducts research on the health care workforce and quality of health care in the U.S. and globally, and is the author of more than 300 scientific papers. Dr. Aiken has directed studies of the impact of nursing on patient outcomes in over 30 countries. Her seminal research demonstrating the impact of adequate nurse staffing on improving patient outcomes is widely used as a basis for managerial and policy decision-making.
In early 2016, Aiken committed $1 million to endow the Linda Harman Aiken Professorship to support excellence in nursing research at the College of Nursing. She was also presented with a special Legacy Award in recognition of her commitment to the college, the University of Florida and the nursing profession.
Close colleague Jeannie Cimiotti, who is the Dorothy Smith Endowed Chair and Director of the Florida Blue Center for Health Care Quality, said that Aiken’s Gator Nurse pride is evident everywhere she goes.
“Linda Aiken is one of the most important leaders in nursing today and her influence on nursing workforce and health policy issues is unparalleled,” Cimiotti said. “But even with that, Linda always talks about how proud she is to be a Gator and a Gator Nurse. Her office is a shrine to the Gators. You can really see the influence it has made on her.
Even after a long and successful career in nursing and research, Aiken still recognizes the heritage of leadership that inspired her in her journey.
“From the founding of the college, there has been an expectation that Gator Nurses will be change agents and leaders in health care in the state of Florida and beyond, and that expectation has become ingrained in the culture that influences each subsequent cohort of students and faculty. The performance bar is high for Gator Nurses.”
Gator Nurse Greats- LEAD
Major General (ret) Marianne Mathewson-Chapman, (PhD 1995, MSN, ARNP 1995) has had a long leadership career in non-traditional nursing roles in community cancer nursing, military and government service. Chapman served as a nurse in the Navy, the US Army National Guard and was promoted to Major General as the first nurse to be selected as Deputy Surgeon General for health policies for 350,000 National Guard members in 50 states. With her leadership experience in the military and being a nurse, Chapman lead the first interagency integrated program at 63 National Guard/Reserve demobilization sites, developed the first outreach program for Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) members and established a combat Veteran call center to reach out and call over one million returning combat Veterans that increased the care throughout the VA. She believes the UF College of Nursing influenced the development of her inquiring mind, foresight, nursing practice and service delivery innovation to promote high-quality standards in program development, coalition building and administering Veteran-centric, coordinated care at home and on the battlefield.
Joan Clark, MSN (1989), D.N.P., R.N., NEA-BC, CENP, FACHE, FAAN, is senior vice president and chief nurse executive for Texas Health Resources. Under Clark’s direction, four of Texas Health’s 14 wholly owned hospitals have earned Magnet® designation and/or re-designation from the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) – the highest level of recognition that a health care organization can receive for quality nursing care. Prior to joining Texas Health in March 2008, Clark served as senior vice president of Patient Services and chief nursing officer at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. She has also served as vice president and chief nursing officer at Baptist Hospital of Miami, part of Baptist Health South Florida.
Clark is active in supporting the nursing profession, serving as a member and leader of a number of professional organizations, including the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE). She completed two terms as a regional board of directors member for the AONE in 2006 to 2007 and 2011 to 2013. In October of 2015, she was elected to serve as 2016 president . Clark is a recipient of the Dorothy Smith Nursing Leadership Award from the University of Florida College of Nursing and was selected as Forth Worth Healthcare Hero in 2016. She was also recognized as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Visionary Leader in 2013 by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Ann-Lynn Denker, BSN (1973), PhD, ARNP, is currently the Chief Clinical Officer for Plaza Health and a Consultant to the Florida Action Coalition. She is a nurse educator, researcher, nursing consultant and health policy expert. Dr. Denker has extensive experience in clinical practice, education and research including roles of pediatric clinical nurse specialist, director of research, (IRB) human subjects, privacy and clinical electronic systems. From 2013-2015, she served as the director of the Florida Action Coalition (Future of Nursing) statewide grant to develop leadership and diversity sponsored by RWJF and Florida Blue. She currently teaches graduate students at the Barry University School of Nursing. Additionally, Dr. Denker serves on the Board of the Health Council of South Florida. Previously, she served on the Florida Board of Nursing as Chair. During her tenure, she served as a fellow of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, studying regulatory issues with an interest in quality and ethical issues around for-profit nursing education. Dr. Denker graduated with a BS and MN from the University of Florida and received her PhD in nursing from the University of Miami. Dr. Denker is a long-standing member of the bioethics committees at Jackson Health System and serves on the College of Nursing Alumni Council Board.
Molly Crocker Dougherty, PhD, RN, (BSN 1965, MSN 1968, PhD 1973) was a professor at the University of Florida College of Nursing for 23 years between 1973 and 1996. She taught women’s health nursing, advised graduate student research, served as research coordinator and led a series of NIH-funded grants related to urinary incontinence in women and rural health. Following her career at UF, Dr. Dougherty served as the Frances Hill Fox Professor of Nursing at the University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill from 1996 to 2004 and as the editor of Nursing Research from 1997 to 2012. Dr. Dougherty is the author or co-author of over 125 published scholarly works. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1965 and master’s degree in 1968, both from the UF College of Nursing. She earned a PhD in Anthropology from UF in 1973. Dr. Dougherty and her husband, Ed, currently live in Durham, NC, where she enjoys an active lifestyle and travel.
Jennifer Dungan, PhD, RN, (BSN 2001, MSN 2002, PhD 2006), a nurse scientist with expertise in cardiovascular genetics research, is Assistant Professor in the Duke University School of Nursing and a Senior Fellow of the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. Dungan’s dissertation research (Alpha 1A- and Beta 2-Adrenergic Receptor Gene Expression in Human Hypertension), a multi-disciplinary project funded by the American Heart Association and an NINR-sponsored NRSA, was the first to evaluate adrenergic receptor gene expression patterns in a human model of hypertension.
Dungan completed a 2-year postdoctoral training fellowship with the Duke University Center for Aging and Human Development from 2006 to 2008, strengthening her expertise in the areas of aging, genomics, and cardiovascular disease. From 2007 to 2009, she was a Duke University John A. Hartford Jr. Faculty Fellow. In 2008, Dungan became a Senior Research Associate at the Duke School of Nursing. In 2009, she was awarded a prestigious K99 Pathway to Independence Award to study the genetics of aging and survivorship in coronary artery disease. She was recently awarded the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center Scholar Award for her research in this area.
Dungan is currently a member of the American Heart Association, the Gerontological Society of America, the American Society of Human Genetics, and the International Society for Nurses in Genetics. She has contributed her expertise in genetics toward inter- and trans-disciplinary service efforts such as the Duke Medical Center Genetic Testing Advisory Council and the Duke School of Nursing Genetic/Genomic Task Force. She has experience teaching in graduate-level courses and has developed a number of undergraduate- and graduate-level guest lectures on topics related to genetics and genomics in health and disease.
Mary Kay Habgood, PhD, RN, (BSN 1967, MSN 1971) is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Florida College of Nursing, where she was on faculty from 1998-2001. She also served as an educational researcher and instructor in the nursing program at St. Petersburg College. She also was actively involved in nursing policy and served as Vice Chair for the Florida Board of Nursing. Habgood is a fellow of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Institute of Regulatory Excellence, the research liaison for the Florida Center for Nursing, a member of the examination committee for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and an active member of the American Nurses Association. She previously served as director and past president for the Florida League for Nursing. Habgood published the “Current Summary of Test Results” for the School Board of Manatee County. She received her BSN and her MSN from the University of Florida and her PhD from the University of South Florida.
In 2001, she joined the administrative team at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Children where she served as administrator for Pediatric services. In 2003, she became the Chief Operating Officer, and in 2007, with the opening of Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Infants, Myra was named the Vice President of Arnold Palmer Medical Center. Myra served as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer until her retirement in 2013.
Over the years, Myra has lobbied in Tallahassee and D.C. for funding for Children and infants health care. She has served as a member of the National Association for Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions, a board member for Children’s Miracle Network and the Howard Phillips Center for Children and Families. Since her retirement, she remains busy volunteering at Shepherd’s Hope, painting and serving as a guest speaker on Nursing Leadership, Ethics, and children’s health issues.
Paul Ingledue, MBA, BSN (1991), began his career as a dental hygienist while stationed in New Mexico with the Air Force. Today, he serves as the President of Downstream Strategies, LLC, a holding company for a diverse group of companies to include healthcare, restaurants, motorcycle fabrication and customization, a wearable fitness device, apparel and commercial property. He is also a partner at Upstream Strategies, LLC, a company that partners with hospitals and physicians to improve the Business of Healthcare by utilizing their extensive knowledge of healthcare finance, regulations, insurance, hospital operations, physician practices and clinical care. Prior to joining Upstream, Ingledue spent 11 years with MedCath Partners, LLC, moving through the ranks from director of outpatient cardiac services in 1997 to serving as vice president of operations from 2003 to 2008.
Ingledue is a recent Gator100 winner, an event that recognizes the top 100 fastest-growing businesses owned by UF alumni. His company ranked 23 out of 100.
Neal McFarlane (BSN 1994, MSN 1999) is Vice President at UCB, a global biopharma company, responsible for the development assets in osteoporosis. He was previously responsible for the U.S. Immunology Business as Vice President and General Manager.
Prior to joining UCB, Mr. McFarlane was Managing Director of Inlet Partners, a Florida-based venture capital firm focused on life sciences, medical technology, information technology and energy management. In addition, he held various domestic and overseas roles with Genzyme Corporation and SangStat Medical.
Prior to his entry into the BioPharma industry, Mr. McFarlane founded Clinical Consulting Group, a specialty healthcare consulting firm. He held clinical positions at the University of Florida, College of Medicine, Transplant Program and the Veterans Administration Medical Center.
He currently serves on the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, Investor Advisory Board, the University of Florida Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator, Advisory Committee and the University of Florida Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board.
McFarlane proudly served 16 years in the United States Army Reserves.
Judith McFetridge-Durdle, PhD (1991), RN, has served as dean of the Florida State University College of Nursing since 2013. Her contributions in research have improved our understanding of the role of gender and menopause in the development of heart disease and provides essential evidence for nursing interventions to improve cardiovascular health in women.
Dr. McFetridge-Durdle led the development of the Seamless Care Model of Interprofessional Education, a unique model with the goal of assisting patients to assume a more central role in managing their illness. This model serves the nursing profession and the public by improving patient safety and supporting patient and family engagement in health care decisions. In support of her research, Dr. McFetridge-Durdle has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and Health Canada.
For six years, she served as mentor and associate director of FUTURE, the Canadian research training program that prepared cardiovascular nurse scientists to generate and disseminate nursing knowledge to improve patient care.
Susan McLean, MSN, RN (BSN 1967, MSN 1977) is chairman of South Lake Hospital Board of Directors, an Orlando Health Affiliate. McLean has served as chairman since 2007. She first joined the hospital’s district board in 1988 and was appointed to the board of directors in 2003. McLean was hired in 1978 by the University of Central Florida (UCF) to work with the State Board of Nursing and Community Hospitals to establish the nursing program at UCF. In 1982, McLean helped found Lake-Sumter Community College’s (now Lake-Sumter State College) nursing program, where she was named director. She has served on the board of several other organizations including the Florida Nurses Association Board, the Florida Nurses Association Foundation Board and the Community Foundation of South Lake. McLean currently serves as HR Director at Uncle Matt’s Organic, a family-owned fruit and juice business that promotes organic agriculture and works to increase awareness in sustainable organic practices to promote a healthy next generation.
While a student and “med-surg” nurse in the mid-1960’s, Marian Newton BSN (1967) MSN (1972) found herself attracted to psychiatric nursing when observing depression in post-cardiac surgery patients at the Shands Teaching Hospital of the J. Hillis Miller Health Center at the University of Florida. The UF psychiatric nursing faculty inspired her passion for mental health care of both psychiatric and medical patients.
After becoming the first psychiatric nurse practitioner in Virginia licensed to prescribe in 2001, she launched the Shenandoah University (SU) PMHNP certificate program in 2004, which was soon followed by PMHNP as an SU graduate nursing specialty. The ANCC exam and Shenandoah PMHNP programs are increasing the availability of prescribing PMHNPs to treat vulnerable populations, i.e., those underserved by psychiatrists.Since 2002 she co-initiated a behavioral health service within the Free Medical Clinic of Northern Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, VA for under-insured medically ill persons with psychiatric problems. This launched integrated medical and mental health care in that facility. She works one day every other week for a regional community service board to care for under-insured patients with complex psychiatric problems.Newton is a 2013 Virginia Nurses Foundation Leadership in Nursing Education award recipient and the assistant dean for advising, progression and retention at the SU Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing.
Pam Michell MHA, RN (BSN 1969) has been Chief Nursing Officer of Munroe Regional Medical Center since 2010 and serves as its Vice President. Michell has worked for Munroe Regional for more than twenty years; ten years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and returning in 2000. Michell served many positions in nursing,administration, workforce development, and human resources at Munroe. She served as Vice President of Heart and Vascular Services at Munroe since 2007. Mrs. Michell provides executive leadership to all areas of Patient Care Services, Munroe Heart, Laboratory, Respiratory and Imaging Services.
Diane S. Raines, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, MSNSG (1983) has served at Baptist Health for more than 35 years in a number of capacities, both nursing and non-nursing. She worked her way through the ranks, starting with staff nurse, educator and cardiac rehabilitation nurse. She later held several management positions, including Director of Cardiac Services, Director of Business Development, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Senior Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness.
Raines has presented locally, nationally and internationally on leadership and nursing-related topics. She stays involved in the community through the United Way of Northeast Florida and the Bridge of Northeast Florida, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors. She has also completed several mission trips, including a medical mission to Haiti, a trip with Habitat for Humanity in Costa Rica and a health education mission to Ethiopia.
Raines is an active member of the American Nurses Association and a recipient of the 2010 University of Florida College of Nursing Alumna of the Year.
Carr Scott (BSN 1996) is an entrepreneur specializing in health care informatics and technology. Scott started Poseidon Group in 1998 with a focus on emergency physician documentation and web-based evidence systems. That quickly spread to the entire Emergency Department (nursing, ancillary staff) as they created and implemented the first web-based Emergency Department Information System that seamlessly integrated with existing hospital information systems. This included a partnership with Shands at UF where they automated a busy and complex Shands ED from 2005 to 2012.
In 2006, as urgent care centers began to emerge in the market, Scott and business partners started Urgent Care Works, which automated documentation at urgent care centers and had a practice management front end and electronic coding and claims backend. In 2012, he sold The Poseidon Group and Urgent Care Works to NextGen Healthcare. Since then he has founded the Charles Sebastian Consulting (named after his children) which is focused on start-ups and investing, advising and growing businesses. Scott also served in the U.S. Army Reserve from January 1990 to December 2013 in a Combat Support Hospital. He has sat on multiple advisory boards within the American College of Emergency Physicians and Urgent Care Association of America.
Scott believes his experience at the College of Nursing helped to shape his desire and ability to successfully pursue a career as an entrepreneur. “The curriculum at the College of Nursing is based on critical thinking and problems solving. These two skills have helped me to start and maintain a successful business,” Scott said.
Elizabeth Shenkman, PhD, (BSN 1979, MSN 1982) is the chairperson for the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy at the University of Florida College of Medicine, the Director of the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium and the Co-Director of the NIH-funded University of Florida Clinical and Translational Science Institute (UF-CTSI). Dr. Shenkman’s research focuses on determining how health care delivery, community, and patient factors influence quality and outcomes of care; and developing corresponding evidence-based strategies to improve health outcomes. Dr. Shenkman is the lead Co-Principal Investigator (PI) for the PCORI-funded OneFlorida Clinical Data Research Network, which is a statewide alliance of three academic centers and six health system partners. In her role as the Co-Director of the CTSI, Dr. Shenkman leads the Implementation Science Program, which develops strategies to promote the uptake of evidence-based best practices in health care settings. Additionally, Dr. Shenkman is the PI of a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-funded randomized clinical trial designed to examine effects of the combined use of health navigators and a flexible wellness account on cardiovascular disease risk reduction among individuals with co-occurring physical and mental health conditions. She is a triple-alumna of the University of Florida, receiving her BSN in 1979, MSN in 1982 and her PhD from the College of Education in 1987.
Phyllis McCully Tousey, RN, MSPH, (BSN 1973), holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the UF College of Nursing and a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Today, she is a Research Nurse Specialist for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she serves as a resource for health information in the International Epidemiology Field Station of its Southern Community Cohort Study. Prior to this, she served as an adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of North Florida and a research coordinator for St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Cancer Data Services, the Heart and Lung Institute, and the Infection Control Department.
Her research has been featured in several publications, including the Journal of Occupational Medicine, the American Journal of Infection Control and the Southern Medical Journal.Tousey is happily married with two children and three grandchildren. She taught Youth Sunday School at Palms Presbyterian Church for several decades, and currently represents that church on the Board of “The Sanctuary on 8th Street”, a mission for children in the inner city of Jacksonville. She loves living in Atlantic Beach and walking in the tidal pools!
Donna Zahra, PhD, ARNP, (MSN 1979, PhD 2002) completed her nursing career as the Director of Nursing at the Nemours Children’s Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. In her clinical role as an Advanced Practice Nurse at Nemours, she specialized in caring for children with spina bifida and their families. Her focus was on developing independence skills and preparing youth and parents for the transition to adult life. She was also the founding Executive Director of the Webb Center for Independent Living, a non-profit established to assist children with disabilities to develop the skills necessary to reach their potential for independence and self-sufficiency. Dr. Zahra was professionally involved in the Spina Bifida Association of America. She also was the chair of the Nursing and Healthcare Professionals Council, a member of the Professional Advisory Council and a member of the National Board of Directors. She received her MSN and PhD in Nursing from the University of Florida and a Masters in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Florida. Donna remains actively involved in organizations in the Jacksonville community. She is currently a member of the Women’s Giving Alliance and the Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital. She is a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville and a past president of the Junior League of Jacksonville. She has served on several community boards including the United Way, Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. and Hospice of Northeast Florida. Dr. Zahra is married to Ellis Zahra, has four children, five grandsons and a sixth grandchild due in April.