For their efforts in bringing babies and moms closer together, and for providing health education and care to vulnerable school children, two world-traveled College of Nursing graduates are being honored with the college's Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Ann Moore, BSN, and Robin Lee, MSN, will receive their awards at the May 20 UC College of Nursing alumni reunion.
If you've ever calmed a fussy baby by placing it in a carrier on your chest or back, you have Moore to thank. A 1956 graduate, she invented the Snugli baby carrier, cited as "one of the 50 most significant ideas of the last millennium" in The Wall Street Journal.
While working as a pediatric nurse for the Peace Corps in Africa during the 1960s, Moore noticed how calm and curious the babies were when they were carried on their mother's back.
Shortly after her stay in Africa, Moore had her first child. Recalling the contented African babies carried with loose fabric around their mother's torso, she tried to do the same with her child. She couldn't quite get the hang of it, and her baby kept sliding down her back. Determined to develop a way to carry her child, Moore and her mother sewed a carrier.
"I was intrigued with the emotional well-being of the African babies," shares Moore, "so I took an idea that's been used around the world for thousands of years and adapted it to our Western culture."
Moore's small business developed into an international product by the early 1970s. She and her husband, Mike, sold their company in 1985, and the design has since changed from the original version.
When Moore's grandchildren were born, she tweaked the original design and called it a Weego, because, she says, "Where I go, we go."
Moore has ventured on to developing other products, including a backpack for carrying oxygen, called Airlift.
"I'm deeply grateful that UC is recognizing this work," says Moore. "The college gave me such a good education and hands-on experience in the health-care profession."
Lee, a nursing faculty member at UC, is being honored for her dedication to cross-cultural nursing locally and worldwide.
A 1960 graduate, Lee spent more than 20 years working in nursing in the United States. She then spent 15 years working internationally as a Project Hope nurse educator in Belize and Grenada, as a faculty member at the Aga Khan University in Pakistan, and a public health specialist in Nigeria and Ethiopia.
"I left my country to find a world view different from mine," she says. "My goal was to grow and learn so as to improve the depth and breadth of my life experiences and my nursing practice."
Knowing there is a growing shortage of school nurses, Lee established an Appalachian grassroots wellness program at East End Community Heritage School in 2000. It serves as a clinical site for 20 to 30 nursing undergraduates a year, providing hands-on experience for the trainee nurses and much-needed health education and clinical care for students.
"School nurses play an important role," says Lee. "Often they'e the point of contact for children and their families for health care, especially in schools with vulnerable populations."
Lee has also implemented school health programs in two other charter schoolsóCincinnati College Preparatory Academy and Harmony Community School.
The Harmony Community School program has been a clinical and nursing research site for over 60 students since it began in 2005.
"Many of our graduates are making exceptional contributions to nursing in their communities and society," says Andrea Lindell, DNSc, dean of the nursing college. "Ann and Robin are two shining examples, and we're proud of both of them."