Jacqueline C. Mitchell, MS, CRNA, director of clinical education, University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), was recently recognized by the Western Maryland Area Health Education Center (AHEC West) with the John M. Dennis Award for her leadership and advocacy for rural practice opportunities. Mitchell also received special recognition from several members of U.S. Congress for her efforts.
Recipients of the John M. Dennis Award are usually university representatives who have made noteworthy contributions to off-campus health professional education in Western Maryland through outstanding leadership, ingenuity, advocacy, and education. Mitchell has been a strong supporter of rural clinical education and nurse anesthetist students and a dedicated partner with AHEC West for clinical placements. Several UMSON nurse anesthetist graduates are now practicing in Western Maryland.
“My heart is overwhelmed with joy because I am being formally recognized for my work. I am very thankful for this distinguished award and I am empowered to do even greater work for the students and the community,” Mitchell said. “What is great about this partnership with AHEC West is, although the majority of our students are from the Baltimore area, they are being afforded the opportunity to train in Western Maryland, allowing them to be exposed to different care settings and job opportunities.”
The award is in honor of John M. Dennis, MD, who served as vice chancellor for health and academic affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore from 1977 to 1988. Dennis was a dedicated visionary whose support made it possible for the development of the AHEC West program and center.
“We congratulate Ms. Mitchell on her receipt of this prestigious award. Her exemplary efforts to create practice experiences for nurse anesthesia students in the rural counties of Western Maryland have introduced countless students to the opportunities and rewards of living and serving in the region,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Through her efforts, she is helping to ensure that we meet the needs of residents throughout Maryland.”
AHEC seeks to improve the health status of Marylanders through community educational partnerships that foster a commitment to enhancing health care access in the rural and urban underserved areas of the state.