2021 Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Kathleen M. Hanna, PhD, RN, FAAN
Diploma 1972, MSN 1981


Dr. Kathleen M. Hanna is currently Professor, Carol M. Wilson Endowed Chair, and Director of the PhD Program for the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing. She received a RN diploma from Western Nebraska General Hospital, a BS in Nursing from Loretto Heights College, an MSN from the UNMC College of Nursing, and a PhD in Nursing from the University of Pittsburgh. She did post-doctoral fellowships at Indiana University’s School of Nursing in health behaviors and School of Medicine in adolescent health.

During about 40 years as an educator and 30 years as a scientist, Dr. Hanna’s focus has been upon understanding adolescents’ and emerging adults’ health behaviors as well as developing and testing interventions. Her current research focus is the transition to young adulthood among emerging adults with type 1 diabetes. She has completed a longitudinal study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, on this challenging health issue. She is currently expanding her focus on diabetes self-management encompassing habits and routines as influential factors.

Dr. Hanna has contributed to the American Diabetes Association’s care recommendations for emerging adults. In addition, she has been an invited speaker at the American Diabetes Association, International Society of Pediatric Adolescent Diabetes, and Harvard University’s Joslin Diabetes Center meetings. She has received numerous awards: the IUSON John and Mary Barron Quality of Life Researcher in 2008, the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists’ Nurse Researcher of the Year in 2014, the UNMC Distinguished Scientist in 2017, a Fellow in American Academy of Nursing in 2018, and the UNMC College of Nursing Pennie Z. Davis Faculty Research Award in 2020.

Dorothy Patach Spirit of Service Award

Burty MacWan, RN, BSN, CEN, MHA
BSN 2009


Burty MacWan graduated from the UNMC College of Nursing Kearney Division in 2009 and began his nursing career working in behavioral health in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he got the chance to serve members of the armed forces. Wanting to further apply his nursing skills and education, he then worked as a staff nurse in the emergency department. Burty also worked at a detox center for Denver Health, which was a Level 1 trauma center and community hospital. Inspired by the lives of the military professionals, Burty decided to join the Air Force Reserves to better serve his adopted country. He joined as a 1st lieutenant and currently holds the rank of Captain.

Captain MacWan works in the aeromedical staging squadron where he trains to provide nursing care for casualties of war, by first stabilizing them and then air-transporting them to receive a higher level of care. He was also the officer in charge of infection control and provided education and training during various outbreaks such as Ebola, Zika, and MERS. For annual tours, Captain MacWan served in the clinic for the Air Force Academy.

After moving to New Jersey in 2014, he worked as a nurse in a Level 1 trauma center and then was promoted to nurse manager. While there, he became Certified in Emergency Nursing (CEN) and was a member of the emergency department special operations team that dealt with mass casualty events.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, Burty was one of the first nurses to cover patient assignments. He regularly worked in the screening tents, treatment areas, and in patient transport. As part of the Air Force Reserves, Captain MacWan was on standby for Operation Gotham—assisting in the hard-hit areas of New York and New Jersey.

In 2020, in his continued pursuit of higher education, he completed a master’s in healthcare administration. He then came back to his early passion–behavioral health, by joining a residential eating disorder treatment facility as their director of nursing. The facility is the first and only residential treatment center in New Jersey. There, nursing director ‘Mac’ has seen the psychological toll that COVID-19 has had on adolescents and their families. He continues to work per diem at the trauma center, as well as being a Captain in the Air Force Reserves.

In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three-year-old son, hiking, traveling, and following NBA and college football.


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