Sigma Nursing Announces 2023 International Award Recipients and Honorary Members

Awards will be conferred during Sigma’s 47th Biennial Convention in San Antonio, Texas, USA 

INDIANAPOLIS —The Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) is proud to announce the nurses and healthcare professionals being honored for their contributions to professional excellence with the 2023 International Awards for Nursing Excellence, Board Awards, and Honorary Membership. The awards will be presented during Sigma’s 47th Biennial Convention, 11-15 November 2023 in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

Sigma’s International Awards for Nursing Excellence reflect the organization’s dedication to fostering high professional nursing standards, recognizing superior achievement, developing leadership, and encouraging creative work.

“On behalf of Sigma’s international Board of Directors, the staff, and our members worldwide, I congratulate all of Sigma’s International Award recipients. These are outstanding individuals, recognized by their peers for superior achievement and dedication to the advancement of global health, who have made profound contributions to Sigma, the nursing profession, and global health,” said Sigma President Kenneth Dion, PhD, MSN, MBA, RN, RCSI, FAAN.

Sigma’s biennial convention is the organization’s largest event and attracts nearly 2,500 nurse leaders from more than 50 countries. During the event, Sigma members and global leaders in nursing come together to celebrate Sigma’s 100-year heritage, build upon successes, and embrace the 2021-2023 organizational call to action: Be Bold. To view details or register for the event, visit


Archon Award

The Archon Awards—from the Greek word meaning “first to lead”—are bestowed biennially by the Sigma Board of Directors to individuals and groups who have shown exceptional leadership in advancing health and welfare throughout the world. Previous recipients include Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al Hussein, The DAISY Foundation, World Bicycle Relief, and Dr. David Suzuki.

Medical Bridges
Walter Ulrich, CEO and President

Houston, Texas, USA

Medical Bridges is a leader in global health equity and a life-changing and lifesaving nonprofit serving the global poor by providing needed medical supplies and equipment to clinics and hospitals. During the past two years, Medical Bridges shipped 300 tons of desperately needed medical supplies and equipment valued at more than $15 million to Ukraine, Haiti, Afghanistan, and developing countries in the Americas, Africa, and Asia, as well as to rural clinics and charitable hospitals in Texas during emergencies. 

United Network for Organ Sharing
Maureen McBride, CEO

Richmond, Virginia, USA

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is the mission-driven non-profit serving as the United States’ transplant system under contract with the federal government. UNOS leads the network of transplant hospitals, organ procurement organizations, and thousands of volunteers dedicated to honoring the gifts of life entrusted to the organization and to making lifesaving transplants possible for patients in need. 

Luci Baines Johnson and Ian J. Turpin

Austin, Texas, USA

Luci Baines Johnson is the daughter of former US President Lyndon Baines Johnson. She is Chairman of the Board and manager of LBJ Asset Management Partners, and Chairman of the Board of BusinesSuites, which she co-founded with her husband Ian J. Turpin. Lifelong philanthropists, they have contributed to numerous organizations in the state of Texas and are the benefactors of the Luci Baines Johnson and Ian J. Turpin Center for Gerontological Nursing at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. 

Nell J. Watts Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award

The Nell J. Watts Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award, one of the most prestigious honors bestowed by the Board of Directors, is given to a Sigma member who has demonstrated exemplary achievements in nursing throughout their lifetime.

Dana Bjarnason, PhD, RN, NE-BC
Vice President & Chief Nursing Executive
Oregon Health & Science University
Portland, Oregon, USA

John Patrick Daly, PhD, RN, FACN, FAAN, FFNMRCSI
Dean and Professor
University of Technology Sydney
Corrimal, New South Wales, Australia

Patricia Davidson
University of Wollongong
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

Beth Ulrich, EdD, RN, FACHE, FAONL, FAAN
Professor, Department of Graduate Studies
University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing
Galveston, Texas, USA

Bethany Ann Hall-Long, PhD, RN, FAAN
Lieutenant Governor of Delaware
Middletown, Delaware, USA

Jean Watson, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, LL (AAN)
Watson Caring Science Institute
Boulder, Colorado, USA


Sigma’s International Awards for Nursing Excellence are based on the society’s dedication to fostering high professional nursing standards, recognizing superior achievement, developing leadership, and encouraging creative work.

Amy J. Berman Geriatric Nursing Leadership Award

Mary Dolansky, PhD, RN, FAAN
Associate Professor
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Audrey Hepburn Award for Contributions to the Health and Welfare of Children

Leslie Parker, PhD, APRN, NNP-BC, FAAN
University of Florida College of Nursing
Gainesville, Florida, USA

Capstone International Nursing Book Award

Nurses Making Policy From Bedside to Boardroom, Third Edition
Rebecca M. Patton, Margarete L. Zalon, and Ruth Ludwick
Springer Publishing (USA)

Creative Communications Award

James Q. Simmons, DNP, MSN, RN, BA, AGACNP-BC
Acute Nurse Practitioner
St. Francis Medical Center & One Health Medical Clinic
Los Angeles, California, USA

Daniel J. Pesut Spirit of Renewal Award

Anna Dermenchyan, PhD, RN, CCRN-K, CPHQ
Director of Quality
Department of Medicine, UCLA Health
North Hollywood, California, USA

Dorothy Ford Buschmann Outstanding New Member Award

Alexandra Hughes, BSN, RN
Emergency Department Clinical Nurse 
Northwestern Memorial Hospital 
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Founders Award-Dorothy Garrigus Adams Award for Excellence in Service

Richard A. Henker, PhD, CRNA, FAANA, FAAN
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Founders Award-Edith Moore Copeland Award for Excellence in Creativity and Innovation

Daniel B. Oerther, PhD, PE, BCEE, FAAN, ANEF
Professor of Environmental Engineering
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Rolla, Missouri, USA

Founders Award-Elizabeth McWilliams Miller Award for Excellence in Research

Martine Puts, PhD, RN
Associate Professor
University of Toronto 
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Founders Award-Elizabeth Russell Belford Award for Excellence in Education

Laura N. Kirk, PhD, MS, BSN
Clinical Associate Professor
University of Minnesota, School of Nursing
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Founders Award-Marie Hippensteel Lingeman Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice

Mildred O. Kowalski, PhD, RN, NE-BC, CCRP
Nurse Manager-Center for Innovation and Research
Morristown Medical Center/Atlantic Health System
Morristown, New Jersey, USA

Founders Award-Mary Tolle Wright Award for Excellence in Leadership

Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean Emeritus
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Helen Henry Excellence of Care Award

Pulmonary Integrated Care Committee
Atlantic Healthy System
Morristown, New Jersey, USA

Lucie S. Kelly Mentor Award

Professor & Chair, Department of Nurse Anesthesia and Director of the Nurse Anesthesia DNP Program
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Melanie C. Dreher Award for Outstanding Chapter Support

Beverly S. Reigle, PhD, RN, FARN
Associate Professor, Emerita
University of Cincinnati College of Nursing 
West Chester, Ohio, USA

Research Dissertation Award

Dion Candelaria, PhD, RN, MN (ClinTeach), GradCertN (Cardiovasc)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, The University of Sydney
Wolli Creek, New South Wales, Australia

Virginia K. Saba Nursing Informatics Leadership Award

Young Ji Lee, PhD, MSN, RN
Associate Professor of Nursing and Medicine
University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA


Honorary membership is conferred by Sigma’s Board of Directors on individuals throughout the world who are not eligible for regular membership but have demonstrated sustained superior achievements that have contributed to the advancement of nursing and healthcare at the national or global levels.

Heather Becker, PhD
Research Scientist
The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing
Austin, Texas, USA

Bill Cessato, DLS
Deputy Director
Georgetown University Center for Research & Fellowships
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Patricia Coleman-Burns, PhD, MA
Assistant Professor Emerita of Nursing
University of Michigan, School of Nursing
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Jody Dalton
Former Chief Financial Officer
Sigma Theta Tau International
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Emily Logan
Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission
Dublin, Ireland

Mark Lombardi, PhD
Maryville University
St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Jonathan Morgan
Sigma Foundation Board of Directors
Grass Valley, California, USA

Koy Parada, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor and Coordinator, Global and Urban Health
School of Nursing, Azusa Pacific University
Azusa, California, USA

Ken Schindler
Chief Compliance Officer, Empower
Sigma Foundation Board of Directors
Denver, Colorado, USA

Scott Shaw, PhD, D.Min, LPC-S, LMHC, LMSW 
Dean and Professor of Social Sciences and Human Services
Grace Christian University
East Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Kylie Smith, PhD
Associate Professor, Mellon Faculty Fellow for Nursing & the Humanities
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Bruce Springer
Prolucent Health
Dallas, Texas, USA

Ian J. Turpin
LBJ Family Wealth Advisors, Ltd.
Austin, Texas, USA

Walter Ulrich
CEO and President
Medical Bridges
Houston, Texas, USA

Nicole Wertheim
Co-Founder and Advisor
Dr. Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Family Foundation
Miami, Florida, USA

Dana Woods, MBA
Chief Executive Officer
American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
Aliso Viejo, California, USA



About Sigma

The Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) is a nonprofit organization with the mission of developing nurse leaders anywhere to improve healthcare everywhere. Founded in 1922, Sigma has more than 100,000 active members and 600 chapters at institutions of higher education and healthcare partners from Armenia, Australia, and Botswana to Thailand, the United States, and Wales. Sigma members include clinical nurses and administrators, academic nurse educators and researchers, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and others working to fulfill the organization’s vision of connected, empowered nurse leaders transforming global healthcare. Learn more at