Collage of DAA winners.

Four Nurse Leaders Receive Alumni Awards

For over 40 years, the Columbia University School of Nursing Alumni Association and Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association, Inc., have honored Columbia Nursing graduates who have made a significant impact in the nursing profession and exhibited excellence in their professional endeavors with alumni awards. Awardees have provided outstanding health care service, driven innovation in research and care delivery, and functioned as mentors in facilitating the growth and future development of other nurses. All are exemplars of what it means to be a Columbia Nursing graduate. 

This year, the associations have designated two distinguished alumni and two early-career alumni for awards: 

  • Elizabeth Cohn, PhD '09, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Nursing Research for excellence in nursing research. 
  • Anna Woloski-Wruble, BS '82, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Nursing Education for excellence in nursing education and professional development. 
  • Ava Dawson, MS ’12, and Hannah Lee, MS ’14, received the Early Career Alumni Award, which recognizes nurse alumni who have exhibited excellence as emerging nurse leaders. 

Meet this year’s alumni award recipients: 

Distinguished Alumni Awards 

Elizabeth Cohn, PhD '09 

Headshot of Elizabeth Cohn.
Elizabeth Cohn, PhD '09

Award for Nursing Research 

Cohn is associate provost for research at Hunter College and Rudin Professor of Community Health at the City University of New York. Her influential 2017 publication “Diversity and Inclusion in Precision

Medicine: What will Success Look Like?” provided guidance for President Obama’s All of Us Research Program. Cohn led community engagement for the New York City Precision Medicine Consortium, enrolling more than 14,500 participants in All of Us, 83% of whom were from underrepresented minority groups. An active fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and past Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar, Cohn is committed to influencing policy and building capacity by educating the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists in community-based work. 

Read more about Elizabeth 


Anna Woloski-Wruble, BS '82 

Headshot of Anna Woloski-Wruble.
Anna Woloski-Wruble, BS '82

Award for Nursing Education 

Currently at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, with appointments at the School of Nursing and the Faculty of Medicine, Anna Woloski-Wruble has many pioneering achievements in  curriculum design, teaching, research, and clinical practice. She developed the university’s state-of-the-art nursing curriculum, and was instrumental in establishing Israel’s first master’s and doctoral degree programs in nursing. Woloski-Wruble was the first academic nurse to create a university-based Sexual Health program, and has developed curricula to support teaching patients about sexual health, especially oncology patients, as well as conservative religious groups. She was the first hospital-based sexual health nurse therapist in Israel, and shares her expertise with community groups and professional schools, both nationally and internationally. 

Read more about Anna 


Early Career Alumni Awards 

Ava Dawson, MS ’12 

Emerging Nurse Leader Award

Headshot of Ava Dawson.
Ava Dawson, MS ’12

Currently a health director and pediatric nurse practitioner for a private school in New York City, Ava Dawson is also co-president of the Independent School Nurses Association (ISNA), which represents more than 150 school nurses and school nurse practitioners in the city. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she joined the New York City Health and Hospitals COVID Test and Trace team as a COVID provider, and became a COVID response leader. At ISNA, she is setting the standard for COVID school safety procedures and advising fellow nurses on the latest evidence-based guidelines and protocols and policies for school nursing. She has provided educational programs to assist with implementation of those policies, resulting in a safer environment for children and teachers. 

Read more about Ava 


Hannah Lee, MS ’14 

Emerging Nurse Leader Award

Woman smiling.
Hannah Lee MS '14

Hannah Lee is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner in the Program for Pediatric Cardiomyopathy, Heart Failure and Transplantation at the Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, where she provides multidisciplinary care to heart failure and cardiac transplant patients from birth to young adulthood. Lee has taken the lead role in the development of a Solid Organ Transplant Transition Program at the hospital, collaborating with transplant physicians, pharmacists, and psychologists, using evidence-based research to guide clinical decision-making, and improving clinical outcomes for pediatric organ transplant patients transitioning from pediatric to adult care. Lee has also initiated several quality assurance projects to solve clinically relevant issues. 

Read more about Hannah