Photo collage: Clockwise from top left: Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, Dr. Erin Harnett, Dr. Beverly Malone, Dr. Dennis Spence, Dr. Robyn Begley, and Dr. Anthony Fauci
News Story

Celebrating New American Academy of Nursing Fellows, Honorary Fellows, and Living Legends

August 26, 2020 – The new class of fellows of the American Academy of Nursing includes Georgetown nursing alumni Dr. Robin Begley (BSN 1977), Dr. Kathleen Griffith (BSN 1994, MS-Nursing 1996), Dr. Erin Harnett (BSN 1973), and Dr. Dennis Spence (MS-Nursing 2001).

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), who previously taught in Georgetown’s online master’s program, will be inducted as a fellow, and Dr. Beverly Malone, CEO of the National League for Nursing who received an honorary degree at the School of Nursing & Health Studies’ (NHS) Commencement Ceremony in 2016, will be recognized as a Living Legend of the academy.

In addition, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who received an honorary degree at Georgetown in 1990 and keynoted the NHS Undergraduate Research Conference in 2010, will be recognized as one of four honorary academy fellows.

The celebrations will occur during the academy’s annual policy meeting, which will take place virtually at the end of October.

(Visit the press release about the new AAN fellows. Visit the press release about the 2020 Living Legends. Visit the press release about the 2020 honorary fellows.)

‘Meaningful Change’

“I am honored to welcome this exceptional class to the American Academy of Nursing,” said Dr. Eileen Sullivan-Marx, the academy’s president. “Their work, across many fields of expertise, exemplifies the power of nursing knowledge in creating meaningful change.”

New fellows in the academy will join about 2,700 current fellows with expertise across a range of areas. They are from nearly 40 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Guam, and they also represent more than a dozen countries.

About the five 2020 Living Legends, Sullivan-Marx said, “The academy is honored to recognize these outstanding individuals as Living Legends and celebrate their legacies this fall.” 

‘Truly an Honor’

Spence, who served in the U.S. Navy for nearly three decades and recently retired at the rank of captain, said it “is truly an honor” to be selected for induction.

“I am humbled to be part of a group of nursing leaders, many of whom have helped mentor me during my career,” Spence said. “As a fellow, I hope to use education I received from Georgetown University and my background as a military CRNA, researcher, and educator to help promote the mission of the academy.” 

Harnett, who is program director of the Oral Health Nursing Education and Practice program at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, also said she is honored.

“I hope that my work will continue to shape public health in the future by eliminating oral health disparities through integration of oral health into overall health in nursing education as well as best practices in clinical settings,” she said. “Georgetown prepared me to be a nurse of the future and to never stop learning.”

Begley, who is CEO of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership and the senior vice president and chief nursing officer of the American Hospital Association, said, “Five years ago, I never imagined I would be in this position to elevate the voice of nursing leadership at the national level. I am humbled and inspired by working together with nurse leaders from across the world to improve health and make changes to the health care delivery system.” (Visit a recent spotlight about Begley.)

Underwood tweeted, “I am so honored to be selected . . . . Nurses are at the forefront of promoting health and leading our nation in innovation, science, and policy. I look forward to working with this distinguished group of nurse leaders.” (Visit the tweet. Also learn about the April 2019 Georgetown event, “Celebrating Nursing: Perspectives on the Profession,” at which Underwood was a featured speaker and panelist.)

Georgetown Connections

Current Georgetown faculty fellows are Dr. Mary Brucker, Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, Dr. Patricia Grady (BSN 1966), Dr. Erin Maughan (also director of research for the National Association of School Nurses), Dr. Suzanne Miyamoto (also AAN CEO), Professor Joan Riley (BSN 1976, MS-Nursing 1997), Dr. Peggy Slota, Dr. Carol Taylor, Dr. Edilma Yearwood, and Dr. Mary Wakefield. Additionally, a number of Georgetown alumni have become academy fellows over the years.

And the prestigious Livings Legends group, which began in 1994, includes several individuals with Georgetown connections:

  • Dr. Faye Abdellah (1994, Honorary Degree 1989, deceased) 
  • Dr. Colleen Conway-Welch (2016, BSN 1965, Honorary Degree 1997, deceased)
  • Professor Vernice Ferguson (1998, former faculty, deceased)
  • Dr. Joyce Fitzpatrick (2016, BSN 1966, Honorary Degree 1990)
  • Dr. Ada Sue Hinshaw (2011, Honorary Degree 1998)
  • Dr. Bernardine Lacey (2014, BSN 1969)
  • Dr. Elaine Larson (2017, former dean)
  • Dr. Angela Barron McBride (2006, BSN 1962, Honorary Degree 1993)
  • Dr. Virginia Saba (2002, former faculty) 
  • Dr. Mary Wakefield (2019, faculty).

(This list may not be complete. Learn more about the AAN Living Legends. Thanks to Dr. Alma Woolley’s Learning, Faith, and Caring: History of the Georgetown University School of Nursing, 1903-2000 for related information.)