SVMC Nurse Named as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing

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BENNINGTON, Vt. — Registered nurse Billie Lynn Allard, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center's administrative director of Population Health and Transitions of Care, will receive one of the nursing profession's highest honors when she is inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing at the academy's annual policy conference in Washington, D.C., in October.

The AAN is composed of 2,400 of the nation’s top nurse researchers, policy makers, scholars, executives, educators, and practitioners from across the country.

"I am honored to be recognized by my professional nursing colleagues for work developing transitional care and population health programs at SVMC," Allard said. "I look forward to making continuing contributions to improve health care outcomes for our communities."

Fellow selection criteria include evidence of significant contributions to nursing and health care and sponsorship by two current academy fellows. Applicants are reviewed by a panel comprised of elected and appointed fellows, and selection is based, in part, on the extent the nominee's nursing career has influenced health policies and the health and well-being of all.

"Billie Lynn exhibits an inspiring drive to improve the health our communities, and she has the evidence-based practice and leadership skills to bring these transformational projects to fruition," said Thomas A. Dee, president and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care. "We are so proud that her vision and hard work have been recognized by this distinguished national academy and hope that this honor will serve as a platform for the proliferation of her ideas to improve health care delivery."


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SVHC Nurse Named Impact Award Honoree

BENNINGTON, Vt. — The group Vermonters Taking Action Against Cancer has named Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center’s registered nurse Rebecca Hewson-Steller as one of its 2020 Impact Award Honorees. SVRCC is a part of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and Southwestern Vermont Health Care.

"Rebecca truly has a passion for cancer prevention and screening, community health, outreach, collaboration and building partnerships," said Jean Huntington, director of Oncology Services at SVRCC.  "She has a unique set of skills and expertise that benefit our community and the Cancer Center."

Hewson-Steller works as a nurse navigator in the Cancer Center and the Breast Health and Imaging Center. In addition to helping recently diagnosed patients cope with their illness and determine their course of action, Hewson-Steller conducts outreach aimed to promote awareness, prevention and screenings. To people outside the Cancer Center, she is best known for helping to organize outreach events to increase the number of people who get screened for colon, skin, cervical, breast and lung cancers.

"Her events are fun and informative, and really help people realize the importance of taking action to reduce their risk," Huntington said.

Amy Deavitt of the American Cancer Society nominated Hewson-Steller for the award. In the nomination, she wrote, "Rebecca works tirelessly on behalf of the patients she serves by going above and beyond to provide the best in cancer care. … Rebecca has been instrumental in breaking down barriers to increase colorectal and lung cancer screenings. Often, Rebecca is in the field at an event … talking a community member through screening logistics or explaining the polyps on display in the inflatable colon. … She clearly loves her job."

The Impact Awards began approximately 13 years ago. The VTAAC coalition of 650 members nominates honorees annually. The VTAAC Executive Committee reviews them and selects two individuals to honor each year. This year’s other honoree was Amy Pfenning of Community Health Center Rutland. In addition, Justin Pentenrieder has been part of the VTAAC leadership for 10 years and was honored for his numerous contributions in reducing the cancer burden for Vermonters as well as his service to VTAAC.

The goal of VTAAC is to reduce the burden of cancer for all Vermonters. Their 2016-2020 Vermont Cancer Plan outlines the five-year shared goals, objectives, and strategies for reducing the burden of cancer in Vermont with the goals of preventing, detecting, and treating cancer, as well as improving the lives of cancer survivors and their families. For more information, visit

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