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Nettie Birnbach, EdD, RN, FAAN

New York State Nurses Association

2010 Inductee

Nettie Birnbach began her career as a graduate of the Kings County School of Nursing, Brooklyn, New York, which led to her service in the United States Cadet Nurse Corps. Her curriculum vitae reflects her many contributions as a practitioner, educator, researcher and extraordinary volunteer with a great vision for nursing. Described as setting the ultimate standard of service, Dr. Birnbach served in many appointed and elected positions including president of the New York State Nurses Association and District 14.

Her exceptional commitment to nursing history is demonstrated by her involvement in the American Association for the History of Nursing, serving in many leadership positions, including president. Dr. Birnbach has generated a body of historical research that illuminates the profession’s evolution and development. One of her most significant and lasting undertakings is her doctoral research at Columbia University’s Teachers College on, “The Genesis of the Nurse Registration Movement in the United States, 1893-1903.” Completed in 1982, the study concludes that “despite the immediate beneficial effects
of registration, the major goal of achieving uniformity in educational preparation for professional nursing practice remains unresolved."

Dr. Birnbach, described as a renaissance woman by those who nominated her, has extended the profession’s boundaries and truly enhanced its services to society. Her many enduring accomplishments make her most worthy of induction into the ANA Hall of Fame.

Claire M. Fagin, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN

New York State Nurses Association

2010 Inductee

Defying her family’s wishes that she study medicine, Claire Mintzer enrolled at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York at age 17 to study nursing. Attracted by the “gorgeous women” depicted in U.S. Army Nurse Corps posters during World War II, she decided to follow her own dream—a dream that would inspire visionary leadership for the nursing profession.

Claire Mintzer Fagin, a distinguished scholar, dean, nurse educator and patient advocate, is the first woman to serve as an Ivy League university interim president, paving the way for two women to become University of Pennsylvania presidents since she completed her tenure there in 1994. Prior to this appointment, she had been professor and dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. When she stepped down from the deanship, the nursing school was ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report.

Dr. Fagin’s career has blended interests in consumer health and nursing. Her New York University doctoral dissertation, published in 1966, reported the relationship between the recovery of hospitalized children and their parents “rooming in.” Combined with subsequent work, this research permanently changed attitudes and rules about parental visitation in pediatric facilities.

Dr. Fagin has received 14 honorary doctoral degrees and numerous alumni, civic and professional awards. Currently, she is on the board of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, and is chair of the National Senior Citizens Law Center Board of Trustees. For five years, she served as director of the John A. Hartford Foundation, “Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity” national program, where her vision has been transformational, not only for nursing, but for the entire U.S. population.

Dr. Fagin’s impact is both her individual accomplishment and the achievement of the thousands of nurses she has advanced by setting high standards, breaking barriers, eloquently speaking for nursing, and promoting the careers of nurse leaders.

John F. Garde, MS, CRNA, FAAN

Illinois Nurses Association

2010 Inductee

Although John F. Garde is no longer with us, the far reaching and long-lasting impact that resulted from his leadership lives on. A 1956 graduate of the Alexian Brothers Hospital School of Nursing, Mr. Garde wasted no time pursuing his ambition of becoming a nurse anesthetist. In 1957, he earned a diploma from St. Francis Hospital School of Anesthesia in La Crosse, Wisconsin. That was the beginning of his long and successful career as a pioneering advocate for registered nurses and nurse anesthetists.

Mr. Garde was the first man and the youngest nurse anesthetist to be elected president of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) in 1972. Just eight years later, he joined the AANA staff as education director, and in 1983, he was appointed as AANA executive director.

Mr. Garde’s influence in moving nurse anesthesia programs into graduate schools and the establishment of the AANA’s formidable federal policy role manifested in the establishment of the AANA Washington office of federal government affairs. Mr. Garde skillfully led the successful campaign that resulted in direct Medicare reimbursement for certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) – the first non-physician group to receive Medicare reimbursement. This achievement led to Medicare reimbursement for other advanced practice registered nurses.

Mr. Garde’s influence is far-reaching. He was instrumental in assisting the global community of nurse anesthetists with the formation of the International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists (IFNA), which led to the elevation of International Nurse Anesthesia Quality Assurance and Education Standards. Mr. Garde won several prestigious awards during his 50-year career, highlighted by his induction into the American Academy of Nursing in 1994.

Ada K. Jacox, PhD, RN, FAAN

Virginia Nurses Association

2010 Inductee

The lifelong and continuing contributions of Ada K. Jacox span four decades and three major areas: pain management; research and scholarship; and leadership in policy development and professional organizations.

Pain management: For over 45 years, her contribution to the management of pain has, undoubtedly, relieved the pain and suffering of incalculable numbers of patients. Dr. Jacox is well recognized for the seminal role she has played in this area of nursing and health care practice.

Research and scholarship: Dr. Jacox has served as the principal investigator for numerous research grants and scientific activities. She is the author and co-author of numerous books and monographs reporting her research findings. Her research continues to inform public policy and guide practice.

Leadership: Dr. Jacox’s leadership on the ANA Board of Directors as first vice-president is one highlight of her significant and sustained involvement in professional nursing organizations. She is also a recipient of ANA’s Shirley Titus Award, demonstrating her work to promote the economic and general welfare of RNs.

Her leadership in mobilizing nurses and developing a national policy direction for funding nursing research played a significant role in the establishment of the National Center for Nursing Research, now known as the National Institute of Nursing Research.

Dr. Jacox has inspired the professional lives of countless registered nurses and nursing students. An educator for more than 40 years, she is currently a professor and research consultant at the University of Virginia School of Nursing. She has also been a professor of nursing at Wayne State University, The Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, the University of Colorado, the University of Iowa and the University of Kansas.

John Devereaux Thompson

2010 Inductee

Connecticut Nurses Association

Born in 1917, John Devereaux Thompson was a 1939 graduate of the Bellevue Hospital Mills School of Nursing for Men. As an extraordinary nurse, educator, pioneer and researcher, he dedicated his professional service to improving the quality and operational
management of hospitals.
As one of the principal investigators in the Yale University research that became Diagnostic Related Groups or DRGs, he influenced the restructuring of Medicare reimbursement and patient quality outcomes. His work in this area and the measurement of nursing intensity
helped to create data systems that continue to contribute to contemporary initiatives in patient safety and quality such as the American Nurses Association’s National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators®. Today, in our evidence-based practice environment, Mr. Thompson was way ahead of the curve with his mantra, “Let the data lead you.” 

Mr. Thompson’s interest in hospital architecture and planning led him to his own design studio and to international consultation, creating hospital wards that would work well for nurses and for patients. His book, “The Hospital: A Social and Architectural History,” written with Grace Goldin and published in 1975, is considered a classic set of studies interweaving architectural and social history in depicting the hospital as a constellation of concrete responses to social needs.
The professional life of Mr. Thompson contributed to the understanding of hospital operations and significantly influenced public policy. In the words of one of his nominators, “At this time in our history when we all look forward to health care reforms and affordable health care for all citizens, it seems right and proper that nursing takes a moment to honor one of our own who pioneered the tools we now use in this quest for equality of opportunity.”


Hattie Bessent, EdD, MSN, RN, FAAN

2008 Inductee

A pioneer in the field of nursing, Hattie Bessent, EdD, MSN, RN, FAAN, has demonstrated leadership qualities throughout her years of service. Bessent’s numerous achievements have had a lasting impact on generations
of nurses.

Bessent was the first African-American nurse and woman to receive a Career Teachers Grant from the National Institute of Mental Health; a doctorate from
Florida A & M University at Tallahassee, and was also the first African American nurse to receive tenure at the University of Florida. While at the University of Florida, she was appointed to the Tenure and Promotion Committee and taught in the Psychological Foundations Department. Bessent held a position of full professor and graduate dean at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. Bessent’s numerous articles have appeared in the most prestigious journals in nursing. Additionally, Bessent has delivered presentations across the nation, and in South Africa and New Zealand.

Her administrative and management experience includes serving more than 20 years as the longest deputy executive director of the ANA Minority Fellowship Program from 1977 to 1982. As the deputy executive director, she headed two grants to train minority nurses in the mental health disciplines, including directing the Allstate Nursing Scholarship for American Indian/Alaskan Natives. In this role, she was able to provide funding supporting the education of minority nurses, serving as an advocate on behalf of minorities, and as a consultant to government agencies, psychiatric nursing programs, high schools and institutions of higher learning.

Bessent is the recipient of some of the most distinguished honors in nursing and has received awards from the American Academy of Nursing, ANA, and the National League for Nursing. Additionally, Bessent has been inducted into the Royal College of Nursing in London, England, and recognized for her “lifelong pursuit to improve access to care for all people,” through her passion for nurses around the world.

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