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Nursing’s Carolyn Rutledge Receives Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award at Ceremony in Richmond

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) presented the 28th Annual Virginia Outstanding Faculty Awards Thursday, Feb. 20, during a ceremony at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

The 12 recipients of the awards, which are sponsored by Dominion Resources, included Old Dominion's Carolyn Rutledge, associate professor of nursing in the College of Health Sciences.

Giving remarks at the luncheon program were Peter A. Blake, director of SCHEV; Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Foundation; and Anne Holton, Virginia secretary of education.

Rutledge, director of ODU's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, is the 27th faculty member from the university to be honored with the award.

The awards have been given annually since 1986. They are intended to recognize "excellence in teaching, research and service among the faculties of Virginia's public and private colleges and universities," according to SCHEV.

Outstanding Faculty Award nominees must possess a "record of superior accomplishment" that reflects their corresponding institution's mission and that encompasses four areas of scholarly endeavor: teaching, discovery, integration of knowledge and service.

An associate professor of nursing, Rutledge has been on the ODU faculty since 2002. She is also a family nurse practitioner and the founding director of ODU's DNP program with a track for advanced practice nurses and nurse executives. In 2011, she received the ODU Doctoral Mentoring Award.

Rutledge has served as an investigator on 22 successful grant applications totaling more than $9.5 million, with a focus on increasing health care to rural and underserved populations. Having grown up in rural Amherst County, Va., she recognizes the need to reach out to patients with limited access to health care. Her approach has been to educate graduate nurses such as nurse practitioners and nurse midwives to meet the needs of such populations.

As a faculty member and a provider since 1988 in family medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Rutledge is aware of the impact of interprofessional care on improving outcomes of patients. In 2012, she received a grant of more than $1 million to provide interprofessional education to nurse practitioner, dental hygiene, physical therapy and clinical counseling students where she assisted students in learning to collaborate through state-of-the-art technology.

In a similar effort to assist health care providers, she developed an educational program using simulation where students utilize "telehealth" as they provide interprofessional care to standardized patients (patient actors).

Rutledge's innovative educational programs have encouraged many advanced practice nurses to become clinic owners as they strive to meet the needs of remote underserved populations. Students have developed practices in areas where 75 percent of the population is unemployed/uninsured; where homeless individuals are provided with care; and where indigent pregnant women are in search of obstetrical care.

"By providing educational programs to students that are indigenous to the rural areas, I am able to develop providers who understand the needs as well as the cultural norms of the populations they serve," Rutledge said. "My ultimate goal is for a more humane, just and effective health care system."

Rutledge was among nine nominees from ODU for the 2014 awards. The other nominees included: Sheri Colberg-Ochs, professor of human movement sciences; Gail Dodge, professor of physics; John Ford, professor of marketing and international business; Michelle Kelley, professor of psychology; Richard Landers, assistant professor of psychology; Sylvain Marsillac, professor of electrical and computer engineering; Michael Pearson, professor of English; and Thomas Socha, professor of communication.

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