Carol Etherington, M.S.N. R.N., Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health and a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing has been nominated for the REAL Awards. This award seeks to honor healthcare workers in the U.S. and abroad. Honorees will be announced in January, 2013.
Carol has served as a practitioner and as an advocate for local and global underserved populations for more than 40 years and promotes the concept that health, mental health, human rights and human dignity are inextricably linked. Her early career began in Appalachia followed by work with victims of violence during and after graduate school. Her pioneering efforts during 19 years at the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department culminated in one of the first police-based counseling programs in the nation as well as a support services program for law enforcement personnel and their families. She was one of the first health care providers to speak publicly on failures of the health care and criminal justice systems response to child and adult victims of sexual assault leading to revisions in hospital protocols and rape laws. She has testified as an expert witness in court cases, supervised practicum students in forensic care of victims of violence, and since 1995 has held a faculty appointment at Vanderbilt, teaching nursing, medical and interdisciplinary groups of students in diverse topics related to community and global health. She has worked in multiple U.S. settings during natural and man-made disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes, school shootings and New York City, post-9/11.
Her travels have taken her to places like Angola, where she cared for victims of war and natural disasters.
Carol first served on an international emergency medical team on the Thai-Cambodian border with the International Committee of Red Cross in the aftermath of the Pol Pot genocide. In the 1990s, she completed four missions in war-torn Bosnia, and since 1996, has worked with Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) in Bosnia, Poland, Honduras, Tajikistan, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Angola and the Darfur refugee camps of Eastern Chad. In November 2002, she was elected President of the USA board of MSF /Doctors Without Borders, the first nurse to be elected to that position.
Her current efforts are largely focused on improving quality of life for displaced persons including refugees, immigrants, trafficked persons and women and children who are impacted by violence.
While Carol has been recognized for her work as a health care practitioner by numerous national and international organizations, it is her ability to inspire others wishing to aid the underserved and vulnerable populations that makes her nomination for the REAL Award most compelling.
The REAL Awards is a new global awards program launched in 2012 by Save the Children and Frontline Health Workers Coalition. The award seeks to honor healthcare workers who are on the front line saving lives everyday at home and around the world.
This news brief was drafted in part from an archived article in the VUMC Reporter.