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Dr. Debbie Persell receives Academic Nurse of the Year alumni award from UMKC

April 27, 2010 -- Dr. Debbie Persell, assistant professor of nursing and coordinator of Regional Training Center for Disaster Life Support at Arkansas State University, was named “Academic Nurse of the Year” at the 2010 School of Nursing Alumni Awards Reception at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by the School of Nursing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City as the Alumni Academic Nurse of the Year,” said Dr. Persell. “I have always been grateful for the education I received there and fondly remember my student days.”

Dr. Persell, who earned her masters degree in nursing from UMKC in 1978, was honored April 22 by the UMKC School of Nursing Alumni Association and the School of Nursing at a ceremony in Kansas City, Mo. She joined three other UMKC honorees—Alumni Achievement Award recipient Lois Hopson, Alumni Service Award nurse researcher Dr. Janice Putnam and Community Nurse of the Year winner Sharon Kathrens.

“Dr. Persell was selected for demonstrating outstanding service and professionalism in Disaster Preparedness Education,” said Kathryn Young, coordinator of the alumni event at UMKC. “We are inspired to know that one of our own is working to make health care response efforts, in times of disaster, more efficient and universal in nature. We are truly proud of Dr. Persell and want to acknowledge the great work that she has done.”

Dr. Persell spearheaded the efforts at Arkansas State for campus-wide inoculation against the H1N1 flu virus during the last year and worked with the Arkansas Department of Health to present two clinics which provided free seasonal and H1N1 shots to campus and community residents. She also provided periodic updates to the H1N1 situation for ASU’s website.

She has extensive experience working with Hurricane Katrina disaster medical relief and worked with the Medical Reserve Corps in Jonesboro during the January 2009 ice storm in northeast Arkansas. ASU’s Convocation Center was designated as a relief site, and Dr. Persell assisted medical teams.

In 2008, Dr. Persell became the first graduate of a new Homeland Security Nursing program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and was only one of three doctoral graduates from the program with the homeland security concentration. This innovative program is the only nursing curriculum in the nation which addresses disaster response training and was initiated to prepare nurse leaders, managers and clinical nursing specialists to organize a response agenda to disasters which involve mass casualties.

She has completed Basic Disaster Life Support, Advanced Disaster Life Support, Instructor Disaster Life Support, Incident Command System courses 100, 200, 300, 400, 700 and 800, and HAZMAT Awareness Operations through Technician. Dr. Persell also has professional credentials as a pediatric nurse practitioner.

In addition to her degrees from Tennessee and UMKC, Dr. Persell also holds a degree from the University of Kansas.

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