Skip to main content

RUSH University Celebrates Outstanding Faculty with 2023 Nursing Leadership Awards

Portraits of Drs. Julion, Brown and Hicks

Dr. Wrenetha Julion, Dr. Fred Brown and Dr. Frank Hicks honored for excellence in healthcare and nursing


In a momentous celebration of excellence and dedication in the healthcare field, three distinguished faculty, Wrenetha Julion, Fred Brown and Frank Hicks have been honored with prestigious awards at the 2023 Power of Nursing Leadership Award ceremony.

Dr. Wrenetha Julion, PhD, MPH, RN, CNL, FAAN, was awarded the coveted Advancing Health Equity Award for her exceptional contributions to healthcare. The award is a recognition of her extensive career marked by relentless efforts to create a more diverse healthcare workforce and address health equity. Julion's outstanding achievements include her instrumental role in establishing minority doctoral forums, offering vital support to nursing students and nurturing faculty development. Her work, exploring topics like doctoral program readiness and cross-cultural mentoring, was published and presented at renowned conferences.

Moreover, her research in pediatric nursing, with a special focus on African American fatherhood, has led to substantial funding and impact. Julion's advocacy extends beyond academia, with a robust media presence and active participation in community and academic committees. Her commitment to developing anti-racism curriculum content highlights her dedication to health equity education in nursing. Julion recently became the inaugural Michelle and Larry Goodman, MD Endowed Professor of Health Equity in recognition of her decades of contributions to health equity at RUSH.

“Dr. Wrenetha Julion is the strongest of advocates for health equity through her research, service and scholarship,” says Kathryn Swartwout, PhD, APN, FNP-BC, Chair of the Community, Systems and Mental Health Nursing Department. “I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition than her.”

Dr. Fred Brown, DNP, RN, CENP, was honored with the prestigious SAGE Award, recognizing his profound influence and guidance in the nursing profession. The SAGE Award acknowledges individuals who mentor and support both current and future nurse leaders. Brown's exceptional qualities as an advisor, guide and mentor have shaped countless careers and made a significant impact on the nursing community.

With a substantial career primarily at RUSH, Brown has worked in various hospital administration and leadership roles. Presently, he oversees the Master's degree programs, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to nursing education.

“The SAGE award recognizes nursing leaders who make an impact by providing support and guidance in the profession. The person who embodies this more than any nurse I know is Dr. Brown,” says Michael Kremer, PhD, CRNA, CHSE, FNAP, FAAN, who nominated Brown for this award.

Dr. Frank Hicks, PhD, RN, CNE, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, received the Pinnacle Nurse Leader Award in celebration of his outstanding commitment to the advancement of nursing education. Prior to becoming the Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Hicks served as the chair of the Adult Health and Gerontological Nursing Department. Today, he oversees all of the 14 programs within the College of Nursing.

"We are immensely proud to celebrate the well-deserved recognition of all three of these outstanding faculty,” says Christine Kennedy, PhD, RN, FAAN, John L. and Helen Kellogg Dean of RUSH College of Nursing and Interim Provost of RUSH University. “These awards reflect the dedication and contributions of these remarkable individuals to healthcare and nursing.”

Julion, Brown and Hicks epitomize the dedication and excellence that the healthcare industry values. Their remarkable achievements not only honor them individually but also shine a spotlight on the commitment and excellence within RUSH University's healthcare community. Their work sets the standard for healthcare professionals and paves the way for future leaders in the field.

The 2023 Pinnacle of Nursing Awards took place on Friday, November 3.