Distinguished Alumni Award

Joanne Rains Warner 76MA

2014 Achievement Award

Joanne Rains Warner, 76MA, has been an agent of change in her profession—and an inspiration to the next generation of nursing innovators—throughout more than three decades in nursing education.

The professor and dean of the University of Portland School of Nursing first found her calling at Augustana College, where she graduated cum laude in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in nursing. She then earned a master's degree in nursing—with a specialty in medical-surgical nursing—from the UI College of Nursing in 1976 and completed a Ph.D. degree in health policy and health of the community in 1990 at Indiana University School of Nursing.

At Indiana University, Warner began her career as a nurse educator and leader, working as an assistant professor from 1990 to 1996, before becoming dean of nursing at Indiana University East. She returned to Indiana University School of Nursing in 2002 as associate dean for graduate programs. In 2005, she accepted a faculty position at University of Portland School of Nursing, and she became dean of that school in 2008.

Warner was the driving force behind the development and design of the University of Portland School of Nursing's innovative Doctor of Nursing Practice Family Nurse Practitioner program—the first doctoral program to be offered at the University of Portland in 38 years.

She also helped Portland's nursing school integrate into its curriculum the "Dedicated Education Unit"—a pioneering approach to nursing education that creates real-world learning environments within patient-care settings. Through this initiative, Warner tripled enrollment in her undergraduate nursing program.

These are not the only advances she has supported in her field. In her work for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Warner served as chair of the committee for the development of the essentials of master's education for professional nursing practice, which dramatically restructured nursing education at the master's level. According to Susan Randles Moscate, David T. Tyson Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Portland, Warner "leads by example, challenges the status quo, and inspires followers to accomplishments beyond their imaginations."

She does so not only in the educational arena, but also within a range of political and policy-advocacy positions. She has played a longtime national leadership role within the Friends Committee on National Legislation, shaping legislative policy and expressing her commitment to the Quaker and community health values of peace and social justice. In addition, Warner has helped manage six successful campaigns for local and state politicians who aimed to improve public health policy, and she was a gubernatorial appointee to the Indiana Commission on Mental Retardation and Development Disabilities.

Such work is a reflection of Warner's commitment to integrating health professionals into the political realm, and she was recognized for these contributions when she was selected in 2005 as a finalist for the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship.

Through such efforts, Joanne Rains Warner—an outstanding role model for tomorrow's healthcare leaders—has made visionary contributions to the fields of nursing education and health policy.

Warner is a life member of the UI Alumni Association.

About Distinguished Alumni Awards

Since 1963, the University of Iowa has annually recognized accomplished alumni and friends with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Awards are presented in seven categories: Achievement, Service, Hickerson Recognition, Faculty, Staff, Recent Graduate, and Friend of the University.

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