Gold Foundation, AACN announce the winners of the inaugural Interprofessional Humanism in Healthcare Award

Dr. Susan Todd Peeler and Dr. Patricia McMullen are honored for extraordinary collaboration and commitment to humanism

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) are delighted to announce the winners of the inaugural AACN-Gold Interprofessional Humanism in Healthcare Award, a new honor that celebrates and elevates the collaboration of physicians and nurses. Susan Todd Peeler, MD, MBA, FACOG, and Patricia McMullen, PhD, JD, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, are being recognized for their partnership in supporting comprehensive women’s healthcare and disseminating best practices on women’s health to clinicians across a wide range of disciplines.

Currently, Drs. Peeler and McMullen serve as clinicians at the Neil B. Rosenshein, M.D. Institute for Gynecologic Care, a women’s health initiative of Mercy Medical Center located in Baltimore. Together, they care for women across a range of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The Rosenshein Institute provides routine women’s healthcare, as well as services for complex gynecological issues for women of all ages.

The AACN and the Gold Foundation jointly created this groundbreaking award, which marks a deepening of the two organizations’ 9-year collaboration to support nurses and their essential role in humanism in healthcare. The new award will be centered each year on a theme, which this year is “Innovations in Interprofessional Collaboration that Drive Humanism in Healthcare.”

“A strong partnership between physicians and nurses is essential for humanistic care that supports patients at the highest level. We are delighted to join with AACN to ensure that this important collaboration is recognized and celebrated – and serves as an example for medical and nursing students to emulate in their future careers,” said Kathleen Reeves, MD, President and CEO of the Gold Foundation. “Through their “Collaborative Consultations,” Drs. Peeler and McMullen have together created an invaluable resource for their patients.”

“Collaborative practice is critical to ensuring that patients receive the highest quality care and benefit from the unique expertise that each clinician brings to health care,” said Deborah Trautman, PhD, RN, FAAN, President and Chief Executive Officer of AACN. “Congratulations go to the inaugural winners of the new AACN-Gold award whose exemplary team-based practice serves as a model for infusing humanism into the patient care experience.”

The Gold Foundation’s partnership with AACN began in 2013 with the expansion of the White Coat Ceremony, also known as the Nursing Oath Ceremony, into nursing schools. This iconic ritual emphasizes the importance of humanism in healthcare. In 2018, the Gold Foundation also opened its Hope Babette Tang Humanism in Healthcare Essay Contest to nursing students, awarding three nursing students and three medical students prizes, as well as publication in AACN’s Journal of Professional Nursing and the Association of American Medical College’s Academic Medicine journals.

The award, which includes an unrestricted cash prize, is designed to disseminate best practices and wisdom from the two honorees. The aim is to impart messages that will encourage nursing and medical students to follow in their footsteps with their own interprofessional collaborations.

Drs. Peeler and McMullen will be presented with the AACN-Gold Interprofessional Humanism in Healthcare Award at the 2024 Gold Humanism Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. Together, the honorees will share their insights, which will be recorded and shared across the AACN and Gold Foundation communities.

Both of this year’s inaugural honorees have worked tirelessly to elevate humanism in healthcare.

Dr. Peeler is a revered medical leader who has devoted her extensive career in healthcare to supporting interprofessional collaboration in women’s health. A Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, she is a pioneer in the use of robotic gynecologic surgeries, which lead to fewer surgical complications and quicker patient recovery.

Dr. Peeler’s journey into medicine was greatly influenced by her formative years. She cites her family as her inspiration.

“I was raised in a family of loving, caring, and exceptional human beings who were all teachers and lifelong learners. The practice of medicine has allowed me to carry on that family tradition,” she explained.

An ardent believer and advocate for interprofessional collaboration, Dr. Peeler has partnered with Dr. McMullen, along with numerous nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals, to advance women’s healthcare. Dr. Peeler’s interdisciplinary efforts have provided care to thousands of women who are either uninsured or underinsured. In addition, her service to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and other women’s health initiatives garnered her the Silver Speculum Teaching Award at Vanderbilt University and the Stegman Award for Academic Excellence from the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business. Dr. Peeler holds a BS degree from Colorado State University, a medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine, and a Masters of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business.

Dr. Peeler’s guiding principles are simple: “I want to treat my patients as I want my family and loved ones to be treated. I am truly a proponent of paying it forward.”

Inspired by that same spirit of contribution and collaboration, Dr. McMullen is a celebrated educator, women’s health nurse practitioner, and attorney. Over the course of her illustrious career, she has combined her interests in nursing and law through the authoring of numerous books and articles dealing with legal issues in nursing. Dr. McMullen holds BSN and MS degrees from the University of Maryland School of Nursing, a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore School of Law, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in nursing from The Catholic University of America. She has conducted clinical work at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Baltimore City Health Department, and Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Dr. McMullen believes that there is great reverberating power in living a life of service to others. “It is so exciting to see the positive impact we have on the lives of women and their families. A hug from a patient, a simple thanks from a family member, kudos from colleagues are incomparable,” she said.

Drs. Peeler and McMullen have both been honored for their comprehensive care that is as holistic as it is humanistic. Dr. Peeler was celebrated as a “Top Doc” and a Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Similarly, Dr. McMullen’s championing of humanistic care for women led to her selection as a Distinguished Practitioner by the National Academies of Practice, a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

For Drs. Peeler and McMullen, healthcare is a shared experience that can only be strengthened by a synergy of thought and practice. Both these clinicians are committed to the practice of what they term “Collaborative Consultation,” which embraces both medical and nursing approaches to create optimal patient care.

As Dr. McMullen said, “Often, healthcare services offered to women are siloed. By engaging in interactions that include the women themselves and providers from a variety of disciplines health outcomes are improved exponentially.”

Irene Zampetoulas, MPA

Communications Associate

Supports the Foundation's marketing and communications initiatives, including writing stories, updating social media, crafting our messages, and more.