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2021 AANP National Leadership Award Recipients Announced

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is pleased to announce recipients of the 2021 AANP National Leadership Awards.

Each year, AANP presents the Towers Pinnacle Award to an individual who — through policy, practice or education — has made outstanding contributions resulting in increased national recognition for nurse practitioners (NPs) and increased opportunities for NPs to provide care to patients.

Joyce Knestrick
Joyce Knestrick, PhD, FNP-BC, FAAN, FAANP, recipient of the 2021 Towers Pinnacle Award

The 2021 Towers Pinnacle Award will be presented to Joyce Knestrick, PhD, FNP-BC, FAAN, FAANP, for her sustained history of outstanding contributions, resulting in increased national recognition of the NP role and enhanced opportunities for NPs to provide care to patients. Dr. Knestrick has made significant contributions to NP practice and patient care through her policy work, development of educational programs and international support of the NP role. She has worked on legislative issues related to home health, diabetic shoes, NP inclusion in accountable care organizations (ACOs) and payment parity for NPs. Through multiple meetings with former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, her policy language regarding reducing practice barriers and increasing access to NP care was used in former President Trump’s executive order, entitled Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation's Seniors. Dr. Knestrick's advocacy and scholarship research led to the development of community health centers in Appalachia that have become a national model for quality health services for underserved rural areas. In 2018, she testified before the U. S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee in favor of Title VIII funding for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). That same year, she was invited to the White House to witness the formal signing of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery (CARA) Act that made permanent the authorization for NPs to prescribe medication assisted therapies (MATs). In 2019, Dr. Knestrick received the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) Outstanding Leadership Award. Over the course of her career as a family nurse practitioner, educator and author, she has been a visionary leader in health care and nursing policy at local, state, national and international levels. Dr. Knestrick is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) and a Fellow of AANP (FAANP). She previously served on the AANP Board of Directors as treasurer and president.

The Sharp Cutting Edge Award is presented annually to an individual who has shown leadership through innovative services, technologies or advocacy activities that advanced NP practice and patient care on a national level.

Jessica Peck
Jessica L. Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAAN, FAANP, recipient of the 2021 Sharp Cutting Edge Award

Jessica L. Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAAN, FAANP, will receive the 2021 Sharp Cutting Edge Award for her efforts to advance the practice of pediatric NPs across the country. Her accomplishments include providing care to pediatric patients in the Houston area when hurricanes hit south Texas and making groundbreaking efforts to increase awareness, recognition and response to potential human trafficking victims by developing best practices and actionable guidelines. Dr. Peck has published and presented to a wide range of audiences, spanning professionals in the fields of health care, education, social services, legal and law enforcement. She was the Founding Chair of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) Alliance for Children in Trafficking (ACT), a national initiative to increase the human trafficking knowledge and awareness of all professionals working with children, adolescents and young adults. At the state level, she provided legislative testimony in support of Texas House Bill 2059, which became law and now requires trafficking prevention training for health care providers. Nationally, she provided testimony to the U. S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) in support of the Stop, Observe, Ask, Respond (SOAR) Act and Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA), which was also enacted into law. Dr. Peck is a fierce advocate and leader in pediatric health and NP practice — forward thinking, innovative, engaging and determined. The breadth and depth of her impact to pediatric practice, education and policy distinguish her as an exemplary recipient of the Sharp Award. She currently serves as president of NAPNAP. Her body of work led to her award as the Will Dean Bivens Singleton Professorship in Pediatric Nursing, an Endowed Chair at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She was inducted in 2018 as an AANP Fellow, and in 2020 as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (AAN).