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Events honor King’s call to dream, serve, inspire

Jan. 23, 2014, 9:05 AM

Vanderbilt University Medical Center honored the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with, among other events, a lecture by UCLA Nursing School Dean Courtney Lyder, N.D., Sc.D., and presentation of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. award.

UCLA Nursing School Dean Courtney Lyder, N.D., Sc.D., delivers Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture. (photo by Joe Howell)

Lyder, a noted researcher, policymaker and educator, captivated faculty, students and staff during his Monday lecture by honoring nursing icons who shaped his career and the profession of nursing.

“Reflecting on the meaning of this day and on Martin Luther King Jr., the key is that he always had a dream,” said Lyder. “At every stage of your career, you have to reflect. You have to dream a re-dream.”

Lyder shared his personal mentors as examples of service to others and making a lasting impact. He credited his grandparents as the inspiration for wanting to pursue geriatric nursing.

Bev Malone, president of the National League of Nursing and first American nurse named as the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and a member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), is one of his role models for persisting through adversity.

He told the story of Mary Harper, Ph.D., a mentor and friend whose groundbreaking work resulted in the Institutional Review Board (IRB). She was a nurse in the Tuskegee experiment, an infamous clinical study that looked at black men with untreated syphilis.

“She was fearless. She was outraged at our government, who knew and let those black men die, and her contribution to us is so it would never, ever happen again,” said Lyder.

Lyder thanked Luther Christman, former VUSN dean and the first male dean of a school of Nursing, for showing that a man can have that role.

He credited Angela McBride, Indiana University professor emerita, who taught him that it’s not about being the smartest person in the room, but about knowing the best way to help you find the answer.

He also mentioned the Dali Lama’s message of there being no wrong way, because every direction brings its own life lessons.

Lyder challenged the audience to keep dreaming, like King, and to keep moving forward.
He reminded the audience that “success is not measured based on the amount of money you have, or the degrees you hold, but what you give back.”

Katherine Brown, Ed.D., OTR/L, center, was presented the Martin Luther King Jr. award by Jana Lauderdale, Ph.D., R.N., and Andre Churchwell, M.D. (photo by Joe Howell)

Also at Monday’s event, Andre Churchwell, M.D., senior associate dean for Diversity Affairs in the School or Medicine, and Jana Lauderdale, Ph.D., R.N., assistant dean for Cultural Diversity at the School of Nursing, presented Katherine Brown, Ed.D., OTR/L, of Vanderbilt Home Health Care this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. award.

When Brown’s mother was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, she became an advocate for her mother and others with the disease by creating the Roberta Baines Wheeler Hypertension Awareness Day Conference.

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