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Mercy's Susan T. Peeler, M.D., and Patricia McMullen, WHNP, named Winners of inaugural Interprofessional Humanism in Healthcare Award

Mercy's Susan T. Peeler, M.D., and Patricia McMullen, WHNP, have been named recipients of the inaugural AACN-Gold Interprofessional Humanism in Healthcare Award, a new honor that celebrates and elevates the collaboration of physicians and nurses.

BALTIMORE, Jan. 4, 2024 The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) have announced the winners of the inaugural AACN-Gold Interprofessional Humanism in Healthcare Award, a new honor that celebrates and elevates the collaboration of physicians and nurses.Susan Todd Peeler, M.D., FACOG, MBA, and Patricia McMullen, PhD, JD, CNS, WHNP-BC, were recognized in December 2023 for their partnership in supporting comprehensive women's healthcare and disseminating best practices on women's health to clinicians across a wide range of disciplines.

Both providers see patients at The Institute for Gynecologic Care at Annapolis, a satellite site of Mercy Medical Center's renowned Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology Center of Excellence. Together, they care for women across a range of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The Institute provides routine women's healthcare, as well as services for complex gynecological issues for women of all ages.

"This acclaim is made evident by the quality of care delivered by highly skilled and dedicated clinicians like Dr. Peeler and Dr. McMullen. Both represent the Mercy tradition of offering patients the finest in doctors, nurses and staff..." -- Dwight D. Im, M.D., FACOG.

The AACN and the Gold Foundation jointly created this award, which marks a deepening of the two organizations' 9-year collaboration to support nurses and their essential role in humanism in healthcare. The new award will be centered each year on a theme, which this year is "Innovations in Interprofessional Collaboration that Drive Humanism in Healthcare."

"The nearly 3,000 square foot The Neil B. Rosenshein, M.D., Institute for Gynecologic Care at Annapolis was opened in 2019, marking the 25th anniversary of Mercy's nationally recognized Weinberg Center for Women's Health and Medicine. This acclaim is made evident by the quality of care delivered by highly skilled and dedicated clinicians like Dr. Peeler and Dr. McMullen. Both represent the Mercy tradition of offering patients the finest in doctors, nurses and staff to address their healthcare needs," said Dwight D. Im, M.D., FACOG, Medical Director of Mercy's Gynecologic Oncology Collaborative, and head of Mercy's Neil B. Rosenshein, M.D., Institute for Gynecologic Care, The Gynecologic Oncology Center, and The National Institute of Robotic Surgery.

"A strong partnership between physicians and nurses is essential for humanistic care that supports patients at the highest level. We are delighted to join with AACN to ensure that this important collaboration is recognized and celebrated – and serves as an example for medical and nursing students to emulate in their future careers," said Kathleen Reeves, MD, President and CEO of the Gold Foundation. "Through their 'Collaborative Consultations,' Drs. Peeler and McMullen have together created an invaluable resource for their patients."

"Collaborative practice is critical to ensuring that patients receive the highest quality care and benefit from the unique expertise that each clinician brings to health care," said Deborah Trautman, PhD, RN, FAAN, President and Chief Executive Officer of AACN. "Congratulations go to the inaugural winners of the new AACN-Gold award whose exemplary team-based practice serves as a model for infusing humanism into the patient care experience."

Drs. Peeler and McMullen will be presented with the AACN-Gold Interprofessional Humanism in Healthcare Award at the 2024 Gold Humanism Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. Together, the honorees will share their insights, which will be recorded and shared across the AACN and Gold Foundation communities.

Dr. Peeler has training and experience in minimally invasive laparoscopic and hysteroscopic procedures. Dr. Peeler offers convenient, in-office diagnostic and therapeutic procedures including colposcopy as well as hysteroscopy. In addition, recognizing the benefits of advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques, Dr. Peeler sought additional training to become proficient in da Vinci robotic surgery.

Dr. Peeler's journey into medicine was greatly influenced by her formative years. She cites her family as her inspiration.
"I was raised in a family of loving, caring, and exceptional human beings who were all teachers and lifelong learners. The practice of medicine has allowed me to carry on that family tradition," she explained.

An advocate for interprofessional collaboration, Dr. Peeler has partnered with Dr. McMullen, along with numerous nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals, to advance women's healthcare. Dr. Peeler's guiding principles are simple: "I want to treat my patients as I want my family and loved ones to be treated. I am truly a proponent of paying it forward."

Recognized by her peers and patients alike for her commitment to clinical excellence, Dr. Peeler was named a "Top Doctor" in Gynecology by What's Up? Annapolis magazine as well as a "Favorite Doc" by readers of Chesapeake Family magazine. She also works in concert with Annapolis gynecologic oncologist Dr. Teresa Diaz-Montes, who provides care for advanced GYN disease including uterine, ovarian and cervical cancers.

Dr. McMullen has an extensive and robust academic and clinical background. She obtained her BSN and MS degrees at the University of Maryland School of Nursing and then went on to complete a Juris Doctor at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She earned her PhD in nursing from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and currently serves as the Dean of The Catholic University of America School of Nursing.

Dr. McMullen believes that there is great power in living a life of service to others. "It is so exciting to see the positive impact we have on the lives of women and their families. A hug from a patient, a simple thanks from a family member, kudos from colleagues are incomparable," she said.

Both Drs. Peeler and McMullen are committed to the practice of what they term "Collaborative Consultation," which embraces both medical and nursing approaches to create optimal patient care.

"Often, healthcare services offered to women are siloed. By engaging in interactions that include the women themselves and providers from a variety of disciplines, health outcomes are improved exponentially," Dr. McMullen said.

The Institute for Gynecologic Care at Annapolis, located at 888 Bestgate Road, Annapolis, MD 21401, opened in 2019 as an expansion of Mercy's Gynecologic Oncology Collaborative, a statewide network providing patients with renowned gynecologic cancer care. The Collaborative addresses treatment for ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer at locations throughout the mid-Atlantic region.