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Fellows of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Announce 2023 Award Recipients

Media Contact: Bryan Black

Distinguished leaders and innovators will be honored for their contributions to the nurse practitioner role.

AUSTIN, TEXAS — The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® is pleased to announce that the Executive Committee of the Fellows of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP) has named the recipients of the 2023 Loretta C. Ford Award, FAANP Legacy Awards and Honorary Fellow distinction. The FAANP program was established in 2000 to recognize nurse practitioner (NP) leaders who exemplify the values of their profession through research, practice and advocacy.

“The recipients of the 2023 FAANP Awards,” said AANP President April N. Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, “are truly legendary NPs who have made an indelible impact on health care through their diligent and enduring efforts to advance the NP role. They are leaders of the highest caliber whose contributions will not be forgotten. Furthermore, AANP is grateful for the years of service and encouragement contributed by Dr. Barry Towers, and we welcome him as an Honorary Fellow.”

2023 Loretta C. Ford Award for Advancement of the Nurse Practitioner Role in Health Care

Named for the co-founder of the NP role, Loretta C. Ford, EdD, RN, PNP, NP-C, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, this award is presented annually to an NP who demonstrates participation in health care policy development at an international, national or local level; sustained and specific contribution to the clarification of the role and scope of practice of NPs; or creative and effective action that turns a challenge to the NP role into an effective opportunity to advance practice and improve patient outcomes.

The recipient of the 2023 Loretta C. Ford Award is Joyce Knestrick, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN.

Joyce Knestrick, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN
Dr. Joyce Knestrick

Knestrick is an associate professor at The George Washington University. She is a past president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners who continues to serve as an advocate for NPs and advanced practice nursing. Knestrick practices in rural Appalachia, caring for low-income and underserved populations. She works at local, regional, state, national and international levels to promote NP practice in education, policy and clinical care. Knestrick is a tireless champion of NPs and “opens every door” to ensure patients can choose NPs for high-quality, cost-effective health care.

Recent Loretta C. Ford Award Recipients

2012 – JoAnne Pohl, PhD, ANP-BC, FAAN, FAANP
2013 – Mary Jo Goolsby, EdD, MSN, NP-C, FAANP
2014 – Jan Towers, PhD, NP-C, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP
2015 – Judith A. Berg, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, FAAN, FAANP
2016 – Rosemary T. Goodyear, EdD, APRN-BC, FAANP
2017 – Penny Kaye Jensen, DNP, FNP-C, FAAN, FAANP
2018 – Barbara M. Resnick, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP
2019 – Mona Counts, PhD, CRNP, FNAP, FAANP
2020 – Madrean Schober, PhD, MSN, ANP, FAANP
2021 – Susan Orsega, RN, FNP-BC, MSN, FAANP, FAAN
2022 – William Rosa, PhD, MBE, AGPCNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN

Honorary Fellow

The Honorary Fellow is a non-NP who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in at least one of the following areas of importance to NPs: practice, education, policy and research.

The 2023 FAANP Honorary Fellow is Barry Towers, PhD.

Barry Towers, PhD
Dr. Barry Towers

Towers took early retirement from his position with the Bureau of Forestry and became the administrative assistant for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, assisting his wife, Jan Towers, PhD, NP-C, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, with her speaking engagements at the national and international levels as a diligent and constant supporter of AANP since its inception. In his quiet, dignified and friendly manner, he gave many years of service to the organization — with integrity, professionalism, leadership and stewardship with steadfast commitment. Barry Towers’ service to AANP and dedication to the NP role was unmatched.

Recent Honorary Fellows

2013 – Barbara Safriet, JD, LLM, FAANP(H)
2014 – Jeff Bauer, PhD, FAANP(H)
2015 – Patrick DeLeon, PhD, MPH, JD, FAANP(H)
2015 – Henry Silver, MD, FAANP(H)
2016 – Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP(H)
2016 – Senator Daniel K. Inouye, FAANP(H)
2017 – Barbara Jonas, MSW, FAAN, FAANP(H)
2017 – Donald Jonas, FAAN, FAANP(H)
2017 – Michael McGinnis, MD, MA, MPP, FAANP(H)
2018 – Winifred Quinn, PhD, FAANP(H)
2019 – Joyce Fitzpatrick, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN, FNAP, FAANP(H)
2020 – Catherine J. Rick, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, FAANP(H)
2020 – Barbara Stilwell, PhD, RN, FRCN, FAANP(H)
2021 – Shwu-Feng Tsay, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP(H)

2023 FAANP Legacy Award

Established in 2020, the FAANP Legacy Award honors, recognizes and memorializes a member of FAANP whose lifelong career has had a profound and enduring impact on the profession and the NP role, articulating a dream that others share and follow. The vision, innovation, courage, persistence and inspiration of the honoree are essential components of the legacy.

Recipients of the 2023 FAANP Legacy Awards are as follows:

Leanne C. Busby, DNS, RN, FAANP
Dr. Leanne Busby

Leanne C. Busby, DNS, RN, FAANP, helped found the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners in 1985 and was inducted as a Charter Fellow of AANP in 2000. She was on the committee that developed the first AANP certification exam, also serving as commissioner. Busby was the director of the family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialty at Vanderbilt University, director of the Tennessee Regents Online Collaborative MSN program and dean at the Jeanette Rudy School of Nursing at Cumberland University. She served 20 years on the Tennessee Board of Directors and was the nurse-in-residence at the Betty Ford Clinic. In the early 1990s, Busby received major grants to develop innovative, faculty NP-run primary care and school-based clinics serving disadvantaged populations in Tennessee. Until her death in March 2022, she remained a mentor and champion of NP practice.

Marie-Eileen Onieal, PhD, MMHS, RN, CPNP, FAANP
Dr. Marie-Eileen Onieal

Marie-Eileen Onieal, PhD, MMHS, RN, CPNP, FAANP, holds a PhD in Nursing and Health Policy from the University of Massachusetts-Boston; a master’s degree in management of human Services from The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University; a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Pace University in Pleasantville, New York; and a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate from Northeastern University in Boston. One of the founders of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, her home was the first headquarters of AANP. Onieal’s tenure spanned from 1985 to 2000, during which time she served as treasurer and chief financial officer, and she held the then five-year term in the progression of president. During her presidency, the FAANP program was established, and the AANP headquarters moved to Austin.

Joyce Pulcini, PhD, PNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN
Dr. Joyce Pulcini

Joyce Pulcini, PhD, PNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, is a professor emerita at The George Washington University. She is an expert in primary care practice and advanced practice nursing policy nationally and internationally and has directed NP programs at several universities. Her research focuses on the evolving nursing roles, the education of NPs nationally and internationally and the removal of barriers to NP practice. Pulcini is the 2019 AANP Towers Pinnacle Award recipient. Her scholarship includes more than 80 peer-reviewed publications, including a 2020 book coauthored by Susan Hassmiller, RN, PhD, FAAN, entitled “Advanced Practice Nursing Leadership: A Global Perspective.”

Mary Ellen Roberts, DNP, RN, APNC, FAAN, FAANP
Dr. Mary Ellen Roberts

Mary Ellen Roberts, DNP, RN, APNC, FAAN, FAANP, is widely known through her many talents that combine patient care, nursing education, research and professional service, culminating in advancing the NP role. She has provided more than three decades of influence on the nursing profession through her advocacy and leadership. A co-author of the seminal AANP white paper on the Doctor of Nursing Practice, Roberts was a member of the National Task Force on Quality of Nurse Practitioner Education and her work on writing various scope and standards of practice has impacted nearly every NP in the U.S. Roberts has been president of AANP, the FAANP Chair and chair of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB). She was a charter member of the AANP-PAC and the 2016 AANP Towers Pinnacle Award recipient.

Dr. Lorna Schumann

Lorna Schumann, PhD, FNP-C, ACNP-BC, ENP-C, ACNS-BC, FAANP, FAAN, is a recognized clinical expert in family practice and acute care. Her clinical expertise is varied and includes inpatient and outpatient work covering the full array of clinical conditions. She currently works in a homeless clinic. Schumann is also involved in the education of nurses and NPs in countries without adequate health resources. She has worked in Crimea, Ukraine, Egypt, Liberia, Burundi, Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala, India, Thailand and Vietnam and is enthusiastic about helping people in countries that lack resources for health care and health education.

Barbara Sheer, PhD, PNP, FNP, FAANP
Dr. Barbara Sheer

Barbara Sheer, PhD, PNP, FNP, FAANP, is professor emeritus at the University of Delaware, has been actively involved in the NP movement since the 1970s and has held regional, state, national and international positions in NP organizations. As a charter member of AANP, she has served as president and was the FAANP Chair. She was involved in the formation of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nursing Network and served on the core steering group. Her work has contributed to the advancement and recognition of NPs worldwide through consultation, education, practice and legislation. Currently, she is involved in preserving the history of NPs for future generations.

Cathy St. Pierre, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP
Dr. Cathy St. Pierre

Cathy St. Pierre, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP, is an FNP with extensive experience in research, practice and academia. She is currently the associate chief nurse of research and an NP at the VA Bedford Healthcare System in Bedford, Massachusetts. Her clinical career path has primarily focused on meeting the needs of underserved populations, which have included pediatric, adolescent, adult and aging veteran populations living in poverty, including international refugees. St. Pierre’s programs of research include older homeless veterans, veterans with chronic pain and the utilization of complementary therapies. She has devoted her career to advancing the role and profession of NPs through professional, academic and volunteer pursuits both nationally and internationally.

Recent Legacy Award Recipients

2020 – Loretta C. Ford, EdD, RN, PNP, NP-C, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP
2020 – Delia O’Hara, CNP, JD, FAANP
2020 – Jan Towers, PHD, NP-C, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP
2021 – Frank L. Cole, PhD, CEN, FNP, FAAN, FAANP, FAEN
2021 – Judith S. Dempster, DNSc, NP-C, FNP, FAANP
2021 – Charon A. Pierson PhD, GNP-BC, FAAN
2022 – Ruth Kleinpell, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP
2022 – Lori Martin-Plank, PhD, FNP-C, GNP-BC, PMHNP, FNAP, FAANP
2022 - Henry K. Silver, MD, FAANP(H)

FAANP will induct 63 new AANP Fellows at the 2023 AANP National Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, on June 22. Learn more about the FAANP program and the invaluable contributions these NP leaders have made to patient health.


The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 355,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NPs' patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. To locate an NP in your community, visit For more information about NPs, visit

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