January 31, 2003

Stevens receives Presidential Award

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The new device will be placed throughout the main towers of VUH by the end of February and in all other areas during the following two months. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Stevens receives Presidential Award

Karen Stevens, director of marketing and student recruitment at Vanderbilt School of Nursing and director for the Center for Career Planning and Placement, recently received the 2002 Presidential Award from the Rural Health Association of Tennessee.

The Rural Health Association of Tennessee is a non-profit organization of individuals and organizations dedicated to improving the health of rural Tennesseans. They work to provide leadership on rural issues through advocacy, communication, education and legislation. It’s the largest rural health association in the nation, and serves as a model for other states working to establish their own associations.

“There’s only one county in Tennessee that isn’t considered underserved… there are a lot of people in Tennessee in rural areas who don’t have a voice in terms of their health care. And the Rural Health Association provides a voice for them,” Stevens said.

Stevens has been an active member of the group’s Conference Committee since 2001, and has helped the association in all aspects of planning the yearly conference. The conference is designed to educate and inform community health, school health, and medical professionals about the latest obstacles and solutions to meeting the health needs of people in rural Tennessee.

Stevens said being given the Presidential Award came as a surprise. “I didn’t realize I did anything special to merit the award. I was so shocked, because to me I was just doing something that I thought was important,” she said.

Stevens says she gives her time to work with the organization because their goals mirror the work she does at Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing.

“The fact of the matter is, nurse practitioners started out in rural areas to serve people who didn’t have access to health care. And that’s really what the School of Nursing is all about. I’m not a nurse, but I am an ambassador for the School of Nursing, for lack of a better phrase, and this is my way of helping to deliver health care to rural, underserved areas,” Stevens said.