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Two school of nursing faculty focused on caring for underserved populations to retire

Two longtime leaders in service learning and social responsibility, Ann Connor, DNP, RNCS, and Jenny Foster, PhD, MPH, will retire after decades of service to the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and the nursing profession. Through their leadership, service, teaching and practice, Drs. Connor and Foster have shaped nursing and health care in communities nationwide and around the world.

“Drs. Connor and Foster have dedicated their careers to ensuring high-quality care for all individuals, particularly communities most vulnerable,” said Linda McCauley, dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. “Through their work and teaching, they have inspired new generations of health care professionals who will continue to move their work forward.”

Connor will retire after a nearly 40-year career at the School of Nursing.

Connor helped establish Café 458, a restaurant for persons who are homeless. Since its beginning, Café 458 has served as an interdisciplinary clinical learning site for students from the School of Nursing and other Emory University students, faculty, staff and alumni. Her work was a catalyst for a number of efforts that increased health care access for persons who were homeless.

Connor served as a Family Nurse Practitioner with the Georgia Nurses Foundation's Clinics for the Homeless, one of the earliest health care clinics for this population in the city. She was instrumental in providing education on foot care and other health concerns affecting homeless individuals. She has also been instrumental in the continued success of the Farm Worker Family Health Program. The interdisciplinary academic community partnership, now in its 25th year, serves migrant farm workers in South Georgia. 

Connor also helped found MedShare International, a nonprofit organization that recovers and redistributes usable medical supplies and equipment to health care facilities in underserved and developing nations.

Previously a Peace Corps nurse in Guatemala, much of Foster’s practice and research has been in developing areas of Latin America or with Latino populations in the United States. As the first faculty member to earn a Fulbright grant at Emory Nursing, Foster used this funding to improve maternal and newborn health in the Americas.

Foster has served on the faculty of the School of Nursing since 2007. During her time at Emory, Foster’s research has focused on the improvement of maternal-newborn health globally, using anthropological and participatory methods. From 2008 to 2011, she conducted a community-based participatory research study in the Dominican Republic, supported by the National Institute of Nursing, which led to a team-based, interprofessional, and community action project for improved maternal care.

Foster also collaborates with the Center for Black Women’s Wellness in Atlanta in community-based participatory research projects. In 2013, along with computer scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, she helped pilot the use of mobile phones to adhere to reproductive health recommendations among mothers in the Health Start program. This work was supported through the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute of the NIH.

To make a gift in honor of Drs. Connor and Foster in support of the Emeritus Faculty Fund, click here.

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