Three EKU Online rural health family nurse practitioner were awarded the $1,000 CVS Foundation Scholarship for the Spring 2021 semester. These students were recognized as a result of their personal and professional dedication to supporting underserved populations.
This year’s scholarship recipients include Blake Barnes, Talisha Hern, and Angela Hubbard. Each of these recipients have made a profound impact in their communities through their commitment to service.
Blake Barnes grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and witnessed first-hand the needs of underserved populations. Acknowledging the many obstacles to health in these historically poverty-stricken areas, Blake made a commitment to serve the people of his community as a nurse.
Blake began his work as a critical care nurse. Although he loved his work and found it incredibly rewarding, he had the feeling that he could do more to help. It was this desire that drove him to begin working for Hospice Care.
When asked about his work, he said “I’ve spent the last 4 years of my career driving in the rain and snow, up gravel roads and unmarked hollers, bringing healthcare and hope to those unable to obtain it any other way.” He went on to say, “This has been the most humbling experience of my life. I know what it means to support the underserved, because I do it every day. I care for them, eat with them, cry with them, and pray with them.”
In this role, he also continues to provide healthcare education to families in teaching them how to care for their loved ones.
Blake concluded by saying “It is an honor and a privilege that I do not take lightly.”
Talisha Hern has a heart for serving others. As a volunteer at the Doctors Volunteer Clinic in southern Utah, she provides healthcare to those in need for free or for a reduced cost. In addition to her work at the clinic, she also volunteers at a local university teaching English to Spanish speaking students.
Talisha’s commitment to service even extends beyond her volunteer work. As a registered nurse in the cardiovascular/progressive care unit, Talisha was able to use her knowledge of Spanish to translate and advocate for many of her patients.
Her advocacy for her patients is the very reason that she was recognized by her peers with the Nurse Excellence Award. While she was recognized for her work in the hospital, Talisha does not stop caring about her patients after they leave. In fact, Talisha was commended for her work helping a homeless man get back on his feet after his stay in the hospital. She said “I gave him a haircut and rounded up clothing for him to be presentable to start applying for jobs,” she went on to say, “I assisted in finding him a place to stay and got him access to public transportation.”
As a family nurse practitioner student, Talisha continued her work with underserved populations by working in a cash pay urgent care that mainly served those that did not have insurance and provided a way for more affordable health care.
Angela Hubbard has spent the past eleven years serving as a community health nurse for the Christian non-profit organization, Red Bird Mission. Recognizing the many impacts that poverty, lack of resources, and geographic location have on the health of communities, Angela serves her community as the school nurse for Red Bird Christian School K-12. As a school nurse, she provides health screenings as well as health education to students. She also helps lead an evidence-based chair exercise program and provides health screenings as apart of the Senior Citizen’s Center.
Angela is passionate about helping alleviate specific issues that she sees plaguing her community. One of these issues is the lack of access to clean water. In 2015, her organization partnered with the University of Tennessee of Knoxville to construct a water kiosk that would bring clean drinking water to rural communities. She said, “In 2020, 16,885 gallons of clean drinking water was accessed at the kiosk.”
Smoking is another issue that Angela is working to address as a facilitator for Freedom From Smoking. In this role, she works with an Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program to help provide people with the tools that they need to live a smoke-free life.
Lastly, to address the health concerns associated with the opioid epidemic, Angela works alongside the district health department to help provide Hepatitis C and HIV screenings, Narcan trainings, syringe exchanges, and she helps refer those impacted to treatment resources.
We are so incredibly proud of the work that our EKU Online rural health family nurse practitioner students are doing in the field and for underserved populations.
If you are interested in advancing your career with a family nurse practitioner degree, fill out the learn more form on this page.