Spring 2007
Healthy Times

CHP recognizes Alumni of the Year

University of Detroit Mercy's College of Health Professions honored four distinguished alumni at its annual Honors Convocation, March 25.

Group standing in Student Center Fountain Lounge with awards
UDM recognizes some of its outstanding alumni at the annual Health Professions Convocation, March 24. Pictured (from left) are PA Clinical Coordinator Rose Higgins, Assistant Professor of Health Services Administration Mary O'Shaughnessey, Associate Dean Judith Lewis, Alumni of the Year Michael Kobernick, M.D., Marie Strom, R.N. and Mary C. Mitchell, PA-C, Health Professions Dean Suzanne Mellon, and Alumni Association President Nancy Dillon. Not shown is Nurse Anesthesia Alumna of the Year Robin Cook, CRNA.

These individuals were recognized for their professional and community contributions in demonstrating leadership and excellence in their profession, serving their community and becoming a role model for others. The recipients of the 2007 College of Health Professions Alumni of the Year Awards are:

Marie Strom, RN, M.S. '69

McAuley School of Nursing Alumna of the Year

As a Mercy College nursing alumna, Maria Strom has demonstrated her pride and commitment to the McAuley School of Nursing (MSON) in numerous ways. She has assisted in the placement of nursing students for clinical experiences, partnered with the School on new educational initiatives, supported the School's accreditation efforts, and served on the MSON Advisory Board, which she now chairs.

During her 21 years in nursing administration, she has helped guide new nurses into the profession in her role as a nurse educator and advisory board member for four nursing educational programs. According to MSON Associate Dean Judith Lewis, Strom continues to exhibit professional leadership in her current position as vice president of operations and chief nursing officer for St. John Macomb Hospital in Warren "by creating an atmosphere of excellence, caring and support for patients and staff." An active member of five professional nursing organizations, Strom was awarded a Wharton Nurse Executive Fellowship by Johnson and Johnson, and was also nominated for the Athena Award and Nightingale Award.

"Being the recipient of the 2007 Alumni of the Year award for the McAuley School of Nursing was an unprecedented honor and privilege for me," says Strom. "I so enjoy having ongoing contact with the MSON, Dean Mellon and Assistant Dean Lewis, who consistently provide energizing spirit and collaboration that invigorates my career."

Michael Kobernick, M.D., M.S. '92

Health Services Administration Alumnus of the Year

Health Services Administration alumnus Michael Kobernick, M.D., demonstrates his ongoing commitment to the poor, uninsured and underinsured in the Detroit area as the medical director of Community Health Services for St. John Health System. In this position, he provides leadership for 12 school-based health clinics, two free clinics, three federally qualified health centers, five Ryan White HIV-AIDS clinics and two clinics jointly operated with the City of Detroit Department of Public Health.

Kobernick has led staff and colleagues to improve patient services and develop best practices in clinical and administrative areas. He conveys his passion for excellence and enhancement of professional practice with such accomplishments as developing an on-call hospitalist program to reduce admissions, improving immunization rates, decreasing specialty referrals and ER use through a physician education network, and creating a network of health care services for the uninsured, encompassing more than 5,000 patients.

Kobernick also shares his clinical expertise by training U-M medical students and teaching community health to Family Practice residents in the St. John Health free clinics. His record of accomplishments reflects his commitment to providing accessible, quality health care to the underserved.

Robin Cook, CRNA, M.S. '97

Nurse Anesthesia Alumna of the Year

Robin Cook exemplifies the true professional, says Mike Dosch, UDM Nurse Anesthesia Program chair.  "A true professional is someone who looks beyond his or her own immediate welfare, by giving back to their profession," he says. "They take care of patients both directly at the bedside, and indirectly by becoming involved in management, planning and teaching. Robin fits this to a 'T'."

As the chief nurse anesthetist at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital, Cook manages a department that is vital to the mission of UDM's nurse anesthesia educational program. The department's clinical faculty work with 8-10 of UDM's nurse anesthesia students each day, and Cook oversees student scheduling and handles any problems. In recognition of Cook's leadership, 15 of UDM's nurse anesthesia graduates chose to begin their professional careers working for Cook at St. Joe's during the past two years.

Cook continues to be generous with her time by teaching the next generation of nurse anesthetists and serving on the program's Admissions and Academic Progression committees. "I am greatly honored to be considered for this award and deeply appreciate it," says Cook. "I am a very proud alumnus of the University."

Mary C. Mitchell, PA-C '90

Physician Assistant Alumna of the Year

Through her diverse contributions to the physician assistant profession, Mary Mitchell is recognized as a leader and mentor in her field. As Chief Grade Physician Assistant for Inpatient/Outpatient Psychiatry at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, she developed and is the clinical coordinator for the Med/Psych clinical rotation for PA students. She also coordinates the outpatient orientation and patient assignments for medical residents and students as well as PA students. She combines her clinical responsibilities with teaching in the PA programs at Wayne State University and at UDM, where she serves as an affiliate professor and clinical preceptor.

Her clinical accomplishments include initiating the procedure of obtaining EKGs when patients are admitted to the psychiatric unit to determine cardiac disease or other patient issues in a timely manner. She also initiated the Art Therapy Program in the Dingell VA Medical Center Department of Psychiatry and Nursing Home, for which she received the Service of Excellence Award. She has also served as clinical coordinator for the National T-PA Stroke Trial, Parkinson's Research and the CAPRIE Stroke Trial.

She has been a mentor to students interested in becoming PAs through an informal "shadow program" and to young girls interested in science through the "Go Girl" program. In addition to her professional and volunteer roles, Mitchell is also a principal dancer in a regional ballet company.  She began an interest in dancing when she was 21.

Take me out to the ballgame

UDM night at Comerica Park: Tigers vs Chicago White Sox

Wednesday, September 5 at 5:30 p.m.

Pre-game party with all of the trimmings and a great seat for the baseball action! See event page for more info.

UDM mailing address 

Please note that UDM has discontinued the use of its post office box. To ensure that your correspondence reaches UDM, please use the following mailing address:

University of Detroit Mercy
4001 West McNichols Road
Detroit, MI 48221-3038

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