Karen Edlund, RN, Future Leader Award Fund

In honor of Karen’s tenure on the Nurses for Sexual and Reproductive Health (NSRH) Board of Directors and her lifelong commitment to sexual and reproductive health (SRH), NSRH is pleased to announce the Karen Edlund, RN Future Leader Award Fund. This Award is given annually in recognition of the outstanding achievements of an NSRH student chapter leader who has demonstrated a commitment to promoting access to sexual and reproductive health on their campus. This Fund will also support key programming focused on cultivating NSRH student chapter members as future nurse leaders.

Karen Edlund, RN, BSN, served as the Director of the SRH Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for 23 years, from 1992 until her retirement in May 2015. During her tenure she developed and managed several critical initiatives that have been key to ensuring access to comprehensive SRH services for the people of Massachusetts. In addition to her leadership with the MA Dept of Health, she has also played an important leadership role with several other organizations. Karen served on several Boards including: NSRH, the Cambridge Health Alliance Public Health Board, Provide, and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association.

Before her tenure with the MA Dept of Public Heath, Karen worked as a maternal and child health nurse with experiences in Medicaid and community health care settings such as the Visiting Nurses and Head Start. Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Boston University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Boston College. She received multiple awards including the Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance twice, the State Family Planning Administrators Annual Award, and the NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Champion for Choice Award.

In the spirit of Karen’s lifelong commitment and dedication to the movement, this Fund will support the continued development of future generations of nurse leaders and advocates through two major projects:

  • The KE Future Nurse Leader Award- The Award recognizes excellence in our student chapter leaders. We invited recommendations from members of our community to help us identify the first award recipient in 2020.
  • The KE Future Nurse Leader Fellowship-  The Fellowship will help us cultivate a more diverse community of nurse leaders in SRH who better reflect the communities they serve, and provide them with targeted resources and support to help them fulfill their leadership goals. While we were excited by the number of amazing candidates for the Future Leader Award, we were dismayed by the lack of diversity in our candidate pool, which was reflective of an overall lack of diversity in our student chapter network.  We recognize that in order to diversify our Network, we must devote targeted resources to the recruiting and supporting nursing students who are presently under-represented in our Network (especially Black, Native, and Latinx students).  The Fellowship cohort will be comprised of students who:
      1. Attend an ADN or LPN program, and/or
      2. Attend an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), HSI (Hispanic Serving Institutions), or TCU (Tribal Colleges and Universities), and/or
      3. Attend a university or program in an under-represented region, and/or
      4. Represent an under-represented group within the sector, and
      5. Are interested in developing themselves as nurse leaders in SRH by either starting NSRH chapters or leading other relevant efforts on their campuses. 


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