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American Nurses Receive International Red Cross Award

WASHINGTON, Wednesday, May 15, 2013 — Five nurses from the United States have been awarded the prestigious Florence Nightingale Medal by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva for their exemplary service to the Red Cross.

Four American Red Cross nurses and a nurse practitioner from the U.S. Navy Reserve are among 32 outstanding nurses from 16 countries around the world to receive the Florence Nightingale Medal, which is the highest international Red Cross distinction that can be awarded to a nurse. The 100-year-old award is given to nurses who distinguish themselves in time of peace or war by their exceptional courage and devotion to victims of a conflict or disaster or exemplary service in the areas of public health or nursing education.

“We are honored that the work of these nurses has earned this international recognition,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “Their humanitarian efforts, both at home and abroad, have strengthened our mission and provided comfort and hope to countless others.”

The medal winners are:

  • Dr. Marie O. Etienne, of North Miami Beach, Florida, a professor in the School of Nursing at Miami Dade College. She serves on the American Red Cross National Nursing Committee as the representative for the National Black Nurses Association, and is a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) and Sub-Council on Nursing and Caregiving. Born in Haiti, she came to the United States at age 14, earning a Bachelor Degree as well as a Master Degree as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, a post-Master certificate in Advanced Family Practice and Gerontology and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. Dr. Etienne has received various awards for her service to her community and for her international services abroad. As a member of the Red Cross SAC, she provides expert recommendations regarding health and nursing. She is a Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteer for the Florida Department of Health and has led numerous missions, including several trips to the Dominican Republic where she provided nursing care for migrant sugar cane plantation workers.She traveled to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and cared for survivors, and she continues to travel to Haiti today to promote both physical and mental rehabilitation for individuals affected by the devastating earthquake.
  • Vivian M. Littlefield, PhD, RN, FAAN, of Monona, Wisconsin, a professor and Dean Emerita of the School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Madison and former National Chair of Nursing for the American Red Cross. Dr. Littlefield holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, Master of Science degree in Nursing, certification as a Clinical Specialist (Advanced Practice Nurse), a Doctorate of Philosophy and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN). A recent recipient of the Ann Magnussen Award, the highest honor of national nursing achievement in the American Red Cross, she has served the Red Cross for 25 years both in Wisconsin and at the national level. She currently serves as Biomedical Nursing Consultant, and has recently released a nationwide program involving nursing students and community blood donor education. Littlefield revitalized the National Nursing Committee by increasing membership diversity and introducing nursing student members. Her dedication to Red Cross nursing practice continues to support the growth of the nurse network, increasing the number of states represented. She also established and continues to chair the Nursing Heritage Program designed to reconnect with former Red Cross nurses.
  • Dr. Tener Goodwin Veenema, of Penfield, New York, president and chief executive officer of the Tener Consulting Group, LLC, an internationally recognized expert in disaster nursing and public health emergency preparedness and long-time American Red Cross volunteer. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing Administration, a post-Master Certificate (Nursing Care of Children and Families), MPH in Public Health, and a PhD in Health Services Research and Health Policy. A senior consultant for disaster preparedness for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Veenema became a Red Cross volunteer more than 20 years ago and has worked in multiple capacities locally and nationally over the years on behalf of the organization. Devoted to preparing nurses to help in large-scale disasters and public health emergencies, since 2001 she has been at the forefront of American Red Cross disaster education initiatives. Dr. Veenema serves as a member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and was a founding member of the Disaster Health Services Sub Council where she works to ensure the scientific validity of all disaster response initiatives. Currently, she is leading an initiative to measure the impact of nursing care in Red Cross shelters. She provided training to many volunteers who helped during Hurricane Katrina and has authored several award-winning Red Cross disaster courses – ReadyRN and Red Cross ReadyRN Disaster and Emergency Preparedness for Health Services, which haveprepared hundreds of American Red Cross nurses to respond to all types of disasters and emergencies.
  • Lieutenant Commander Deborah Redman, of Lavernia, Texas, a family nurse practitioner with the U.S. Navy Reserves and with a private cardiology practice. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and a Master of Science/Family Nurse Practitioner degree. From 1984 to 1986 she served as American Red Cross Coordinator for soldiers in Schweinfurt, West Germany. Redman has devoted her adult life to the nursing profession, volunteering on various humanitarian missions, including a trip to Guyana, South America, where she and her team cared for more than 2,000 people, and a recent trip to Central American to provide care for people in seven countries in that part of the world. She served in Afghanistan, where she provided care to sick and injured members of the military and conducted medical outreach missions to Afghan women and children and educated Afghan medical providers. Her missions required security due to the volatility in Afghanistan and she continued to seek opportunities to help the local Afghan population despite the personal risk to herself. Her experiences in Afghanistan were challenging, but she stated she would be willing to put her life on the line again for the sake of providing care and teaching others.
  • Dr. Sharon A. R. Stanley, PhD, RN, RS, Circleville, Ohio, serves as Chief Nurse of the American Red Cross. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, a Master of Science degree in Community Health Nursing, and a PhD in Health Education from The Ohio State University and other degrees. She is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow. As the Red Cross nursing officer, Dr. Stanley provides leadership and strategic direction for over 15,000 nurse volunteers in partnership with the Red Cross National Chair of Nursing, the National Nursing Committee and Regional Nurse (RN) Network. She was instrumental in the 2011 Red Cross change that enabled nurses to provide care consistent with their education and training in disaster services. Before joining the Red Cross, Dr. Stanley was the program director for the Ohio Center for Public Health Preparedness, College of Public Health, Ohio State University, where she co-developed and implemented a nationwide program to train public health nurses in disaster preparedness response and the first Chief of Disaster Planning for the Ohio Department of Health. COL (ret) Stanley served 34 years in the Army Nurse Corps, with12 years on active duty. She graduated from the Army War College and the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security. Stanley is the recipient of The Surgeon General’s “A” proficiency designator and a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit.
  • About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.