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U.S. Nurses Honored by the International Committee of the Red Cross


Four nurses in the United States have been selected by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to receive the 41st Florence Nightingale Medal, nursing’s highest international honor. The Medals will be awarded by American Red Cross President and CEO Mark W. Everson at American Red Cross national headquarters on Monday, December 3, at 11:00 a.m.

“The American Red Cross is incredibly proud of the winners of the Florence Nightingale Award,” said American Red Cross National Chair of Nursing Vivian Littlefield. “Their dedication to serving people throughout the world in times of need is an inspiration.”

The ICRC awards the Florence Nightingale Medal to nurses and volunteer aides worldwide who have shown exceptional courage and devotion to the sick, wounded and disabled in times of war and peace.

Nurses Brenna Aileo of Springville, Pa.; Lt. Colonel Steven R. Drennan who is currently stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y.; Catherine A. Head of Fombell, Pa.; and Marilyn McClellan Self of Decatur, Ga. will join an elite group of 51 U.S. nurses who have received the Medal since the ICRC first issued it in 1920. This year, only 35 nurses around the world will receive the award.

Catherine Head has dedicated her career to improving health outcomes for vulnerable populations. At the American Red Cross Head has established a process for deploying a healthy work force during disaster relief operations. As a result of Head’s work, fewer relief workers need to be sent home in the middle of their assignments. Head is also a member of the Red Cross National Nurses Committee.

For nearly a decade, U. S. Army Lt. Colonel Steven Drennan has worked to build collaborative relationships and educational partnerships between multi-national healthcare providers in hostile environments. He led the development of training for Iraqi ambulance teams and a burn management training program for Iraqi ambulance crews and physicians. He also laid the groundwork for the Iraqi National Trauma Training Center, which offers clinical rotations within the Iraqi medical community.

Marilyn Self has worked in paid and volunteer capacities with the American Red Cross for more than 25 years. Self improved the quality of health services available to victims of disasters through the development of a partnership to train public health nurses for work in shelters throughout Georgia, and coordinated Red Cross health services for Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Self is a member of the Red Cross response team for aviation disasters and has led the health service response for multiple aviation disasters.

Brenna Aileo, a former Army nurse, began volunteering with the American Red Cross in response to September 11, 2001 events. Three years later she became a health consultant for the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces, reviewing and clearing staff for overseas deployment. Since taking on this role in 2004, no staff member has returned from a deployment site due to medical reasons.


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