Each year, Frontier Nursing University (FNU) alumni and faculty gather for fun, fellowship, sharing memories and to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers at the annual Homecoming event. Although COVID-19 prevented the university from hosting an in-person gathering this fall, the university still worked hard to honor those who have shined exceptionally bright this year through its annual Homecoming awards.
The annual Homecoming awards fall into two primary categories including The Distinguished Service to Society Award, which provides recognition for alumni who go above and beyond to provide exceptional service in their communities; and The Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award, which honors alumni who have supported Frontier through volunteer efforts and/or donor support. Additionally, FNU also presents its Mary Breckinridge Lifetime Service Award and Unbridled Spirit Award for members of the FNU community who have shown unyielding support to the school.
The community at FNU is proud of the accomplishments of these award winners and the many ways in which they have represented FNU and its mission. Here are this year’s Homecoming award winners:
Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award:
Rebeca Barroso, DNP, MSN, RN, CNM, FACNM
Rebeca Barroso lives in St. Paul, Minn., where she was in full-scope nurse-midwifery clinical practice for more than 20 years, after 22 years in direct-entry midwifery practice. Dr. Barroso, who earned both her nurse-midwifery certificate and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from FNU, served as an assistant professor at Frontier from 2011 to 2016. She is currently an associate professor at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, Minn., where she teaches the graduate level maternal-infant content and pathophysiology for the nurse practitioner students.
Dr. Barroso has an extensive clinical midwifery background, working with vulnerable women experiencing health disparities from multiple cultural backgrounds. In 2008, Dr. Barroso was the recipient of the Community Service Award granted by Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis for her work with patients from these underserved populations.
Dr. Barroso is a co‐editor of Best Practices in Midwifery: Using the Evidence to Implement Change, Second Edition (2016), and DNP Capstone Projects: Exemplars of Excellence in Practice (2015). She is a fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. In 2011, Dr. Barroso won ACNM’s W. Newton Long Award for the Advancement of Midwifery.
Throughout her career, Dr. Barroso has been a dedicated supporter of FNU. She has precepted more than a dozen Frontier students and has been a generous donor for more than 20 years. FNU thanks Dr. Barroso for her remarkable commitment to her profession, her community, and to Frontier. FNU is proud to present her with the 2020 Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award.
Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award:
Rebecca Feldman, CNM, PMHNP
Rebecca Feldman is a nurse-midwife, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and psychotherapist in maternal mental health. She sees clients in private practice in the offices of Boro Park Ob/Gyn and Midwives, and at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Queens, N.Y., as part of the perinatal psychiatry team.
She earned her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from FNU and a Post Master’s in Psychiatric Nursing from NYU. Feldman, who has delivered more than 70 babies, has a broad range of nursing experience, as well as ten years of experience as a nurse-midwife. Her vast experience helped her identify an area of need in women’s health care -perinatal mental health. She applied for grants to start mothers’ groups in English and Spanish. She made these evidence-based support groups available to mothers at no cost and continues to provide mental health services to clients with underlying mental health diagnoses or perinatal mood disorders.
Feldman provides mental health care during all aspects of family building, including preconception planning, families struggling with infertility, postpartum parents, as well as those surviving pregnancy, infant or child loss. She facilitates a weekly group for pregnant or postpartum clients struggling with depression and/or anxiety, and payment is only by donation.
In addition to her service to her patients, she is also a leader and advocate. She is a frequent guest speaker on maternal mental health and is an advocate for making maternal mental health care accessible to all families in need. Feldman has seemingly always been willing to give her time and expertise to assist others. Even as a student at FNU, she hosted case days in her home. As a graduate, she has precepted FNU students every year since becoming eligible to do so in 2016.
Feldman is a credit to her FNU training and a most worthy recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award.
Distinguished Service to Society Award:
Rachel Lien, FNP
Rachel Lien, who earned her MSN and Family Nurse Practitioner degrees from Frontier, quickly applied what she learned at the school. Shortly after graduation, she signed on at a pediatric inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Massachusetts, where patients from all over the world came for specialized treatment.
Based on Lien’s work with patients from Arabic-speaking countries, her community service in interfaith dialogue groups, and a Moroccan American community group, she was awarded the Kathryn Davis Peace Fellowship. This fellowship allowed her to study Arabic for a full summer. An additional scholarship from One Nurse At A Time led her to Pakistan, where she volunteered at a hospital and clinic. Lien worked in the newborn inpatient unit and taught classes to promote health and wellness among the staff and students.
Next, Lien traveled to Greece to work at a clinic in a refugee camp. Working abroad taught her that one person traveling to volunteer was not enough and how politics, culture, and organizational structure contribute to the vast disparities in health worldwide.
With these experiences and new insights, Lien returned to Massachusetts to continue learning and preparing herself to be a more significant agent of change. She is now pursuing her DNP at Frontier and working at Franklin Family Practice. Her tireless efforts to learn how to best serve her community, paired with her commitment to improving health outcomes worldwide, are inspiring. Rachel Lien is an outstanding example of providing service to others, and, for that reason, FNU is proud to honor her as the winner of the 2020 Distinguished Service to Society Award.
Distinguished Service to Society Award:
Melva Craft-Blacksheare, DNP, MS, RN, CNM
Dr. Melva Craft-Blacksheare is an Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Michigan-Flint School of Nursing. She has been a registered nurse (RN) for over 40 years and a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) for 26. Dr. Craft-Blacksheare, who earned her CNM from FNU, practices as a centering pregnancy facilitator with the St. John Providence Health System in the Metro Detroit area.
Dr. Craft-Blacksheare is the lead faculty at the University of Michigan-Flint for Maternity Nursing and Issues in Women’s Health courses. She also co-chairs DNP student research projects and serves on the curriculum committee, student concerns committee, and is a former advisory member of the Women’s Educational Center. She is a co-chair for the A.C.T.S (A Chance to Succeed) Mentoring Program. She is on the steering committee of Genesys Hospital Centering Pregnancy.
Dr. Craft-Blacksheare is a member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and the Greater Flint Black Nurses Association. She has been the project director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant “New Careers in Nursing” to increase nursing workforce diversity. She is a chartered member of the Chi Eta Phi, Sorority Inc. Iota Chi Chi Chapter, an international professional nursing sorority whose mission is “service for humanity.”
As a leader in her field and at her university, Dr. Craft-Blacksheare embodies the spirit of Frontier. A preceptor to FNU students, she continues to give back to FNU and the nurse-midwifery profession as an educator, researcher, and practitioner. For her decades of service and commitment to FNU, Dr. Melva Craft-Blacksheare is the very deserving winner of this year’s Distinguished Service to Society Award.
During each Homecoming Ceremony, FNU also presents awards to some of their most dedicated and passionate supporters. This year’s winners include:
Mary Breckinridge Lifetime Service Award:
Dr. Susan Graham and Dr. Jon Kucera
Dr. Susan Graham, a member of the extended Breckinridge family, and her husband, Dr. Jon Kucera, are longtime FNU supporters. They have inspired others to give as well, such as matching donations to FNU on Giving Tuesday.
Their gifts have supported many FNU initiatives, including student scholarships and the Kitty Ernst Midwifery Endowed Chair Fund. In 2019 they made a pledge for the construction of a walking path around the Versailles campus.
Not only do they support FNU with financial gifts, but also with gifts of time and expertise. Susan is an active member of FNU’s Leadership Council and stays closely connected to the university and its mission.
With the deepest gratitude for their support, FNU proudly presents Dr. Susan Graham and Dr. John Kucera with the Mary Breckinridge Lifetime Service Award.
Unbridled Spirit Award:
Ellen Bayard served as a Frontier Nursing Service Courier from the early fall of 1968 to the late spring of 1969. Since that time, her generous annual contributions have helped to further the mission and work of Frontier. In addition to her financial commitment, Ms. Bayard has volunteered her time and talents as a member of the Courier Advisory Council.
In recognition and gratitude for her service as Courier, advisor, and supporter, FNU is proud to present the Unbridled Spirit Award to Ellen Bayard.
Thanks again to all of FNU’s dedicated alumni, friends, and supporters. We couldn’t do this without you, and we wouldn’t want to! To learn more about other alumni activities and how to stay involved, visit FNU’s alumni page. For more information on how to become a donor and help Frontier spread quality care to underserved communities, click here.