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Chief Nursing Officer at Texas Health Dallas Chosen for National Fellowship

DALLAS — Cole Edmonson, D.N.P., R.N., FACHE, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, has been named one of only 20 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows from across the country for 2012.

Cole Edmonson
Cole Edmonson

Edmonson joins a select group of nurse leaders chosen to participate in the three-year leadership development program, which aims to enhance nurse leaders’ effectiveness in improving the nation’s health care system.

“I am honored to have been selected,” Edmonson said, “and humbled to be working with such an amazing group of leaders. The Executive Nurse Fellows are a ‘who’s who’ among nurse leaders. I expect this program to assist me in becoming a better nurse executive and leader.”

Over a 20-year career, Edmonson has been a direct care nurse, supervisor, manager, director, associate chief nursing officer and chief nursing officer, before assuming his current position at Texas Health Dallas. A Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, Edmonson has led two organizations to Magnet Re-designation in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He has published on topics as diverse as succession planning, moral courage, nurse bullying and balancing the interest of hospitals and academic researchers.

“The Texas Health team of nurses is grateful to stand shoulder to shoulder with a transformational leader such as Cole,” said Britt Berrett, Ph.D, president of Texas Health Dallas. “As we enter the next phase of health care reform, we are comforted knowing there is leadership emerging that has both the clinical expertise and the passion for the nursing profession.”

Edmonson is currently co-investigator on a study on genomics in nursing practice. He’s also active with the Texas Team Advancing Health through Nursing. The group is a coalition of various healthcare-related stakeholders, including hospital systems, insurance companies and professional nursing organizations. The goal is to implement recommendations from the Institute of Medicine report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.”

Cole Edmonson
Edmonson participates in rounds in Hamon Tower at Texas Health Dallas.
Click photo to download hi-res image

“Nursing is both an art and a science,” Edmonson said. “Nurses bring science to the bedside to help the patient and the family. I saw that when my father was diagnosed with lung cancer, and I had the chance to view the health care system through his journey. The most influential people to his outcomes were nurses. They are present during some of the most difficult and some of the most joyful times in patients’ lives. That’s what attracted me to nursing. I believe in leading by example, and I hope this program will help me identify and prepare nurse leaders who can succeed in today’s changing health environment.”

Begun by RWJF in 1998, the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows (ENF) program strengthens the leadership capacity of nurses who aspire to shape health care locally and nationally. The program will provide Edmonson and his colleagues with executive coaching, education and other support to strengthen their abilities to lead teams and organizations in improving health and health care.

Executive Nurse Fellows hold senior leadership positions in health services, scientific and academic organizations, public health and community-based organizations or systems, and national professional, governmental and policy organizations. They continue in their current positions throughout their fellowships, during which each develops, plans and implements a new initiative to improve health care delivery in his or her community.

“The nursing community at Texas Health Resources couldn’t be more excited for Cole — he will not only grow in a hundred or so different ways personally, but will also have a positive effect on all of his peers throughout the system,” said Joan Clark, Texas Health senior vice president and chief nurse executive. “We look forward to all he will do to advance nursing practice at THR.”

The ENF program is located at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and co-directed by Linda Cronenwett, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, the Beerstecher Blackwell Term Professor and former dean of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and David Altman, Ph.D., executive vice president of Research, Innovation and Product Development at CCL.

“Now more than ever, with our health care system preparing to care for millions more patients, many of whom are living longer but with more chronic conditions, we need nurse leaders who are well prepared to participate as full partners in this historic transformation,” Cronenwett said. “The RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program has a proud history of building and enhancing the leadership skills of extraordinary nurses all across the country. We are delighted to be able to work with this new cohort. Each of our new Executive Nurse Fellows has made a powerful commitment to improving health and health care and is poised to become an even more effective leader.”

In addition to Edmonson, the other 19 RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows — selected from approximately 150 applicants — are:

  • Rita Adeniran, DrNP, R.N., CMAC, NEA-BC, director of Diversity and Inclusion, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • Beth Bolick, D.N.P., PNP-BC, CPNP-AC, CCRN, coordinator of the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (AC PNP) Program, Rush University College of Nursing, Chicago
  • Beth Brooks, Ph.D., R.N., FACHE, president of Resurrection University, Oak Park, Ill.
  • Richard Cuming, R.N., M.S.N., Ed.D., NEA-BC, senior vice president and chief nursing executive, Jackson Health System, Miami
  • Sheila Davis, D.N.P., R.N., ANP-BC, FAAN, director of Global Nursing, Partners In Health, Boston
  • Loraine Frank-Lightfoot, R.N., B.S.N., M.B.A., NEA-BC, chief nursing officer, Wooster Community Hospital, Wooster, Ohio
  • Carolyn Hayes, Ph.D., R.N., NEA-BC, nurse executive at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, Boston
  • Bernadette Khan, M.S.N., R.N., NEA-BC, vice president of Specialty Services, New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center, Plainview, New York
  • Pamela Kulbok, DNSc, R.N., PHCNS-BC, FAAN, professor of Nursing and Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Linda Lawson, D.N.P., R.N., NEA-BC, administrative director of Nursing Operations, Del Sol Medical Center, El Paso, Texas
  • Shawanda Poree, B.S., B.S.N., M.B.A., deputy director for the Healthcare Placement Service, Veterans Health Administration Healthcare Retention and Recruitment Office, New Orleans
  • Lisa Sgarlata, R.N., MSFM, M.S.N., chief administrative officer , Lee Memorial Hospital, Lee Memorial Health System, Fort Myers, Fla.
  • Janice Smolowitz, Ed.D., D.N.P., R.N., A.N.P., professor of Clinical Nursing, senior associate dean, and director, Center for Clinical Practice, co-director, doctor of nursing practice degree program, Columbia University School of Nursing, New York
  • Elizabeth Speakman, Ed.D., R.N., C.D.E., ANEF, associate professor and associate dean of Student Affairs, Jefferson School of Nursing, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia
  • Suzan Ulrich, DrPH, C.N.M., FACNM, associate dean of Midwifery and Women’s Health, Frontier Nursing University, Deerfield Beach, Fla.
  • Ellen-Marie Whelan, Ph.D., N.P., FAAN, senior advisor at the Innovation Center, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Baltimore
  • Debra White, R.N., M.S.N., M.S.A., ACNS-BC, NEA-BC, vice president and chief nursing officer, Saint Luke’s Health System, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Danuta Wojnar, R.N., Ph.D., M.N., MED, IBCLC, associate professor and chair, Department of Maternal/Child and Family Nursing, Seattle University College of Nursing, Seattle
  • Laura Wood, D.N.P., R.N., MSN, vice president and national director, Clinical Solutions, Siemens Healthcare, Malvern, Pa.

The fellowship is supported through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For more information about the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program, visit

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is an 898-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, having provided compassionate care to the residents of Dallas and surrounding communities since 1966. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Texas Health Dallas among the nation’s best hospitals in digestive disorders, orthopedics, and neurology and neurosurgery. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Dallas has approximately 4,000 employees and an active medical staff of more than 1,000 physicians. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter ( or Facebook (

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