James Madison University

School of Nursing Recognized by The March of Dimes

By: Brett Seekford
Posted: February 17, 2016

The March of Dimes, a national nonprofit that works to improve the health of mothers and babies, recently honored three faculty members and a student from James Madison University. Awards were presented to professors Chris Fasching-Maphis, Erika Metzler Sawin, Julie Sanford, and student Talia Startsman (’16).

The 2015 Virginia Nurse of the Year Gala was held November 14th in Richmond, Virginia. Nominees ranged in nursing career backgrounds, from academia to hospital administration. Professor Chris Fasching-Maphis was acknowledged as the Behavioral Health Nurse of the Year and Dr. Erika Metzler Sawin was named Nurse Educator of the Year. Both faculty members were humbled and surprised when they won the awards.

“This award left me deeply grateful. As a faculty member, I have the opportunity to contribute excellence to the nursing profession and bring change to the way mental health services are delivered,” Fasching-Maphis said. “I am inspired by the awesome JMU students I teach.”

Metzler Sawin, who recently taught in Puducherry, India on a Fulbright Scholarship, agreed. She saw this accomplishment as proof of her devotion to education: “With academics, there’s always a tension between research and teaching. The award was important to me because it recognized my work in educating students but it also showed an appreciation for my research pursuits.”

Dr. Julie Sanford, Director of the School of Nursing and winner of the Executive Nurse Leadership Award, was surprised to hear her name called, as she was considered in a pool of nominees that included many respected and talented nurse leaders. “I am honored to have received this recognition of the good work we are accomplishing in the School of Nursing.”

Talia Startsman was the third student in a row from JMU to be named Nursing Student of the Year. Her involvement on campus as Vice President of the Nursing Student Association and student leader of Sigma Theta Tau helped build her credentials for the award. “I am grateful that I was able to represent the JMU School of Nursing, and I consider my success a testament to our program and each talented student nurse it develops,” Startsman said.

“These awards reflect the quality and commitment to excellence in the School of Nursing. They’re a reflection of the great work we’re doing – faculty, staff, and students,” Sanford concluded.