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Alumni Awards

Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Nursing: The Distinguished Alumni Award is open to any graduate of the UT Austin School of Nursing who has demonstrated significant sustained leadership in education, practice, or research to improve the health of their community, state and/or nation.

Rising Star Alumni Award: The Rising Star Alumni Award is open to any graduate of the UT Austin School of Nursing who received his or her degree in the last ten years and who has evidenced leadership, impact, and innovation in healthcare delivery and/or healthcare policy and who is actively engaged in contributing to the profession.

Recipient of 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Nursing

Gwen D. Sherwood, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF

Dean Alexa Stuifbergen and Dr. Gwen D. Sherwood

Dean Alexa Stuifbergen presents Dr. Gwen D. Sherwood
the Distinguished Alumni award

Dr. Sherwood is professor and associate dean for Academic Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing. Her career has focused on advancing quality and access to nursing education locally and globally, particularly in developing regions’ programs.

During 28 years at the University of Texas-Houston School of Nursing, she led the faculty practice enterprise, held a joint appointment at The Methodist Hospital as founding co-director of the Center for Professional Excellence and was nursing principal investigator on two AHRQ Center for Patient Safety grants with the Medical School.

For 15 years she directed outreach education in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. During her time in Texas, with more than $2.9 million from combined line-item state funding and the Health Resources and Services Administration grants, Dr. Sherwood directed the first satellite distance education network with weekly broadcasts, and a cooperative outreach MSN with Pan American University, the first graduate program in the area.

In 1993 she helped develop the first MSN program for China and led Baccalaureate Curriculum Reform that fueled a nursing paradigm shift across China. Since 2012, Dr. Sherwood has led an annual three-week reflective practice seminar sponsored by the Thai Ministry of Public Health.

In addition to her international impact on nursing education, Dr. Sherwood has been a primary influence in transforming nursing education and practice in the U.S. as co-investigator/co-principal investigator for the ground-breaking Quality and Safety Education for Nurses, which was funded with $4.2 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Sherwood was appointed professor and associate dean for Academic Affairs at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2005 and became the school’s first associate dean for Practice and Global Initiatives in 2014.

Dr. Sherwood completed her PhD in 1988 at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned a diploma from Georgia Baptist Hospital School of Nursing, a BSN from North Carolina Central University and an MSN from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Sherwood is a founding faculty member for the Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety for nursing and medical students funded by The Doctor’s Company Foundation and MedStar Health, past president of the International Association for Human Caring and vice president of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the NLN Academy of Nurse Educators.

Recipients of 2016 Rising Star Alumni Award

Dean Stuifbergen and Brennan Parmelee

Dean Stuifbergen presents Brennan Parmelee
the Rising Star Alumni award

Brennan Parmelee MSN, RN, CPN, CNE

Brennan is a nurse in pediatric hematology/oncology/stem cell transplant at Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. She received her bachelor of science in nursing degree from UT Austin in 2013 and an MSN in Nursing Education at Duke University.

Brennan taught nursing for pre-licensure students in Tanzania, Africa, as her capstone in education. Afterwards, she became a stem cell transplant coordinator at Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. She is active in her community, serving in positions such as publicity chair for Sigma Theta Tau-Epsilon Theta Chapter and hosting swab drives with Be the Match and Delete Blood Cancer.

Brennan was awarded first place this year for the Magnet Recognition Program competition by Houston Methodist. The Magnet Recognition Program recognizes health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.

She currently serves on the board of leaders for the American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Hospital programming and has begun a doctoral program at the UT Health Science Center in Houston. She plans to focus her research on improving outcomes in hematopoetic stem cell transplant recipients and quality of life at the end-of-life.

Click here to view the list of past Distinguished Alumni Recipients

Click here to view the list of past Rising Star Alumni Recipients