UT Health Science Center San Antonio professor wins national pediatric nursing award

SAN ANTONIO (March 25, 2011) — A national leader in pediatric nursing from the UT Health Science Center San Antonio was honored today as the recipient of the prestigious Henry K. Silver Memorial Award from the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Pracitioners (NAPNAP).

The award was presented to Julie C. Novak, D.N.Sc., RN, CPNP, FAANP, during the opening session of the association’s 32nd Annual Conference on Pediatric Health in Baltimore, Md.

Award recognizes national leadership in pediatric nursing
The award, named in honor of Dr. Henry K. Silver, a pioneering pediatrician and co-founder of the nurse practitioner role, is presented to an individual who has contributed to the expansion or improvement of pediatric health care and the advancement of the profession of pediatric nurse practitioners at the national and/or international level.

Over her 34-year career, Dr. Novak has developed nurse-managed clinics, educated hundreds of pediatric nurse practitioners, initiated a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree and led nursing students on service-learning projects in Mexico, Russia, China and South Africa.

She has held leadership positions at a number of universities and in national organizations.

Since joining the UT Health Science Center in September 2009 as associate dean for practice and engagement, Dr. Novak has developed a network of faculty-practice clinics. She holds the Thelma and Joseph Crow Endowed Professorship and is director of the Student Health Center, Employee Health and Wellness Clinic and the UT Nursing Clinical Enterprise, which together provides care for more than 10,000 children and adults.

“I have known Dr. Novak for 15 years and she is very deserving of this honor. I recruited her to the School of Nursing a little over a year ago to develop our clinical faculty practice plan,” said Eileen T. Breslin, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing. “In this short amount of time she has improved our existing practices and added more clinics to our network. Now, our nursing students and faculty have additional opportunities to learn and provide care in nurse-led and nurse-managed clinics, and additional populations to include in clinical research. Our faculty practice plan is growing due to the extensive knowledge and experience Dr. Novak brings to our program.”

Network of nurse-managed clinics
Over 18 months, Dr. Novak revamped the Student Health Center, doubling the number of exam rooms and number of patients seen. In November she launched an Employee Health & Wellness Clinic. A laboratory draw station serving both clinics will open this spring.

In collaboration with Avance, she oversees multiple clinics attached to Early Head Start (children ages birth to 3) and Head Start (ages 3 to 5), as well as a day care associated with Healy Murphy Center, an alternative high school for at-risk students, many of whom are pregnant or who have young children. Plans are under way to add additional clinics to the School of Nursing’s network this year.

More than $600,000 in funding
In support of these efforts, Dr. Novak has secured a $300,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to link the clinics through an electronic health records system and $300,000 in contracts to further expand the UT Nursing Clinical Enterprise through additional Head Start screening programs and health homes.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award,” Dr. Novak said. “Dr. Silver was a caring, empathetic, collaborative pediatric expert, a superb teacher and master communicator. His focus on holistic approaches to the care and empowerment of children and families and his wisdom in guiding the development of the nurse-practitioner movement (with Dr. Loretta Ford) set the stage for the critical role that advanced-practice nurses are playing in health care reform and the creation of patient and family-centered quality, effective, accessible delivery systems/health homes.”

Professional leadership posts
Dr. Novak’s national leadership posts include serving on the NAPNAP Board of Directors as national certification chair, president-elect, president and past president. She also has served as president of the American Nurses Foundation National Nursing Coalition for School Health. Currently, she is an accreditation site visitor for the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education, which recently invited her to serve as one of 21 nurse practitioner leaders for external program review related to the national taskforce criteria.

Academic leadership at four universities
Dr. Novak has held academic leadership positions at Purdue University, the University of Virginia schools of Nursing and Medicine and the University of California San Diego/University of California San Francisco Intercampus Graduate Studies Division and Department of Community and Family Medicine.
At Purdue, where she was on faculty from 2000 to 2009, she served as professor and head of the School of Nursing, director of the DNP program, director of the Purdue School of Nursing Clinics, and director of service-learning innovation and scholarship in the Center for Instructional Excellence.

Clinics to include Brazelton Touchpoints Approach
She completed pre-doctoral work at the University of Washington in family health research and post-doctoral work at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center associated with Harvard University and Children’s Hospital Boston, with renowned pediatrician Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and Ann Stadtler. She is integrating the Brazelton Touchpoints Approach into the Health Science Center pediatric clinics. The approach involves educating and enhancing the competence of parents in order to build strong family-child relationships as children move through developmental milestones.

Stadtler, director of site development and training at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, nominated Dr. Novak for the NAPNAP award. “Since June 2006, when Purdue School of Nursing became a Touchpoints Site, I have come to admire Dr. Novak’s leadership and expertise in teaching and mentoring,” she said. “She understands the value of forming relationships with families in providing effective care and thus has integrated the Touchpoints Approach in her mentoring and teaching of nurse practitioner students. She also understands the needs for collaboration and coordination of care in order to support families as they navigate the health care/early care systems.”

The nomination was accompanied by letters of support from NAPNAP Past President Barbara J. Deloian, Ph.D., RN, CPNP, who served on the national board with Dr. Novak. UT Health Science Center nursing faculty member Mary Ryan Maffei, RN, M.S.N., PNP-BC, who works in the AVANCE Head Start-Castroville Road clinic, and five former nurse practitioner students from San Diego State University, the University of California San Francisco and Purdue University.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving U.S. federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $228 million in fiscal year 2010. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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