Search Site

Columbia Nursing Recognizes Distinguished Alumni at Start of National Nurses Week

Danish Consul General Honors Nursing Pioneer at Columbia Ceremony


Consul General of Denmark, Ambassador Jarl Frijs-Madsen honored a founder of Denmark’s modern health care system and Columbia University School of Nursing graduate, Charlotte Munck, in a special ceremony at Columbia University Medical Center last week.

Widely regarded as the Florence Nightingale of Denmark, Munck established the country’s first systematic nurse training program, was head of the Danish Nurses Organization, and laid the groundwork for legislation in 1956 that secured state regulation for nurse education. Munck was one of six graduates of Columbia Nursing honored at the ceremony, held in advance of National Nurses Week.

"Although it’s been more than a century since Charlotte Munck studied right here at Columbia Nursing, her fundamental philosophy lives on in the Danish health care system today," Frijs-Madsen said. "We believe the best health care begins with the patient, and Munck’s vision placed nurses at the forefront of creating a national system of patient-centered care."

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. It is a time to recognize nurses’ dedication to patient care, scholarship and leadership, said Columbia Nursing Dean Bobbie Berkowitz.

"In today’s quickly changing health care landscape, nurses act not only as clinicians but as educators, mentors, policymakers and leaders,” Berkowitz said. “Each year, during National Nurses Week, we recognize the contributions of nurses everywhere who apply their special set of skills and a holistic perspective for the benefit of patients, families, and communities."

Munck, class of 1909, was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement at the ceremony. Other award recipients included:

  • Kathleen Barnes `89, recognized with the Distinguished Career in Nursing Award for her work as a pediatric nurse practitioner (NP) in the U.K., where she pioneered the first Master’s level pediatric and neonatal NP program in 2005.
  • Margaret Mabrey Craig `64, honored with the Distinguished Career in Nursing Award for her dedication to health policy and her role in helping to create the Eastern Nursing Research Society.
  • Rachel Lyons `07; given the Distinguished Alumni Award in Education for her efforts in forging a new curriculum as director of the pediatric NP program at Rutgers University College of Nursing.
  • Susan Levy Mascitelli `74, received the Distinguished Alumni Award in Administration for her management career at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, most recently as senior vice president of patient services and liaison to the board of trustees.
  • Beth Oliver `91, acknowledged with the Distinguished Alumni Award in Administration for leadership positions held at Lenox Hill Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital.