Julie C. Novak, D.N.Sc., RN, CPNP, FAANP, FAAN, from UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, has been awarded the Nancy Sharp Cutting Edge Award, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners’ highest honor. The prize was given in recognition for her leading role in innovative health-care services, technologies and advocacy that advance nurse practitioner best practices and patient care. Novak is a national leader in pediatric and family health nursing and she is often called a pioneer in nurse-managed clinics.
This prize follows the Nursing Honorary Imagemaker Award and the Ruth Stewart Award from the Texas Nurses’ Association and Sigma Theta Tau International in May.
Created in 1996 by the American College of Nurse Practitioners Board of Directors in honor of Nancy J. Sharp, founding executive director of the group, the Nancy Sharp Cutting Edge Award acknowledges nurse practitioners who embody leadership and advocacy not only on behalf of their peers, but also of their patients.
“Nancy Sharp is a bright, bold and audacious leader, and an innovator and advocate—a big-picture visionary,” said Dr. Novak, vice dean for practice and engagement at the School of Nursing. “It was an honor to be chosen from among 50,000 members, most of whom are leaders in their own right. To receive an award named for Nancy is very special as I so admire her.”
Dr. Novak is the holder of the Thelma and Joseph Crow Endowed Professorship and serves as executive director at UT Nursing Clinical Enterprise, the Student Health Center, and Employee Health and Wellness Clinic, which was awarded a gold-level recognition for the City of San Antonio’s Healthy Workplace Award last May. Dr. Novak is also head of child and family health projects at the Avance Community Partnership Clinic and Healy-Murphy Wellness Center.
Over her more than 40-year career, Dr. Novak has not only developed, but also taught and earned funding for Advanced Practice Nursing, Doctor of Nursing programs and global community and public health initiatives in international settings. A prolific writer, she has written for more than 70 publications, including journals, book chapters, and a textbook. She has developed and implemented international projects in Russia, Estonia, the Philippines, China, South Africa and Mexico.
“I tell my students and project collaborators that working with diverse communities is like a dance, and the community always leads the dance,” said Dr. Novak. “It’s all about social justice, capacity building, mutual respect and leadership development at the local community level. The local resident leaders are the ground troops. We need bold, innovative, sustainable engagement and partnerships that promote a healthier future for families.”
In his letter of recommendation, Richard Ricciardi, Ph.D., NP, FAANP, FAAN, current director at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Washington, D.C., wrote that a recognition for Dr. Novak’s contributions to the field was in order.
“Dr. Novak has been on the front lines of developing and implementing nurse-managed delivery care models, whether to advance school health for underserved children or low-income residents in rural and urban settings,” he wrote. “She has made an indelible and lasting impact as the quintessential role model for all nurse practitioners.”
Dr. Novak has received more than $25 million in grants to support her research, which covers subjects ranging from child and family health promotion and nurse-managed clinics, to tobacco control and global healthcare.
“There are 3.5 million registered nurses and nurse practitioners in the U.S.,” she said. “If we are allowed to practice to the full extent of our education and training, we can effectively address access issues and promote health and wellness across populations and settings.”
Eileen T. Breslin, Ph.D., RN, FAANP, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing at the Health Science Center, says Dr. Novak is an innovator and transformational leader.
“She has been a pioneer who continues to be on the leading edge of new service delivery models to enhance access to care through nurse-managed clinics, thereby instilling evidence and excitement in the role of registered nurses and nurse practitioners in improving the Triple Aim of health care reform,” she said. The Triple Aim addresses access issues, including the patient’s experience and satisfaction with care, improved quality and safety, and cost effectiveness to optimize the health care system.