U.Va. Women’s Center gives award
Denise Geolot, national director of nursing, 2005 Distinguished Alumna
by Anne Bromley
Recognizing her leadership roles in nursing and health policy, the Women’s Center will present its 2005 Distinguished Alumna Award to Denise Geolot, who graduated from the School of Nursing in 1970.
Geolot, director of the U.S. Division of Nursing in the Health Resources and Services Administration, will be honored April 22 at a private dinner and give a public talk in U.Va.’s Rotunda Dome Room at 1:30 p.m. She will discuss her career, looking at federal programs that address the nursing shortage, and how U.Va. prepared her for taking on leadership roles.
“This award is such an incredible honor. Never in my wildest dreams did I think something like this would happen,” Geolot said.
Geolot has devoted her work to modern American health care that is relied on by millions of people nationwide. For more than 30 years, her office has helped provide a safety net of quality services for the underserved in our society.
After receiving her B.S. in Nursing from U.Va., Geolot obtained a master’s degree at the University of Colorado to become a nurse practitioner.
She then returned to Charlottesville as an instructor in the Nursing School, working with her mentor, nursing professor Barbara Brodie.
Dr. Richard Edlich soon chose her to lead U.Va.’s emergency nurse practitioner program. This was the first such university-based program in the nation, and Geolot directed it from 1975 to 1977.
U.Va.’s emergency medicine program quickly became a respected national model and would go on to become the norm in many university schools of nursing. Geolot also coordinated the Nursing School’s three other nurse practitioner programs for pediatrics, families and adults.
Her sterling work gained Geolot a national reputation, and she was recruited to serve as a consultant in the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services.
She advanced steadily, being named director of the Division of Nursing in the Health Resources and Services Administration by 2000.
She administers the federal program that provides comprehensive, flexible and effective support for nursing workforce development.
She has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, and she is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.
An active alumna, Geolot provides ample service to U.Va. as a member of the Health Sciences Advisory Board and a supporter of nursing scholarships. She received the Nursing Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumna award in 1985, and was inducted into the Raven Society in 2000.
The U.Va. Women’s Center established the annual Distinguished Alumna Award in 1991 to recognize a female graduate who has demonstrated excellence, leadership and extraordinary commitment to her field.