Professor Cathy Campbell—hospice nurse, Buddhist chaplain, Fulbright scholar alumna, and an expert on end-of-life and palliative care in both global and domestic settings, including for rural caregivers and transgender elders—will be honored with UVA Health's 2022 MLK Award on March 8 with health system leadership.
Established in 2013, the MLK Award is bestowed annually to a student, faculty, or staff member in the health system who embodies Dr. Martin Luther King's values and teachings in their cultural competence, recognition of and work to end healthcare disparities, and as contributors to environments of inclusiveness in accordance with the institution's mission and values.
Wrote Campbell's nominators, "She continuously and consistently fosters a teaching, learning, and healthcare environment of inclusiveness . . . [and is] worthy of recognition for diversity, inclusion, and equity in global health and health education."
In 2017, Campbell earned a Fulbright Global Scholarship to study and fortify the end-of-life care education and practices of South African and Thai community health workers—whom Campbell calls "community treasures"—who work in remote areas where pain management medication is often scarce, regional patient-nurse ratios high (as much as 400:1), and palliative care skills and best practices are often learned on the fly.
Campbell also studies the end-of-life experiences of and develops supports for transgender elders who are dying, and, in 2021, earned Mind & Life Institute think-tank grant funding to develop and present best practices to support them.
"Health equity work as always been a part of my practice," said Campbell, who began her career as a bedside nurse at a Florida Veterans Administration hospital and has worked with HIV patients. "I grew up as a social worker's daughter and those issues were always front and center in my life."
Campbell's programs of research focus on population traditionally vulnerable to decreased access to services, her nominators noted, and address the health of rural populations, highlight racial and ethnic perspectives and experiences, and incorporates global experiences with palliative and end-of-life care.
Campbell said she felt "honored and humbled" to be nominated by her peers, and pointed to students as her source of inspiration and hope.
"I teach a course called 'Cells to Society' to the first-year undergraduate students," said Campbell, "and every week in class I guide the next generation of nurses to explore health equity challenges and seek possible solutions. I leave class on Thursday afternoons just vibrating with excitement because the students are very passionate about changing the world and creating a compassionate, equitable health system that works for all. And I am honored to be able to contribute to that vision."
Campbell—chair of the Department of Acute and Specialty Care—is one of five 2022 MLK honorees. The others are:
- Mariana Araujo, program manager for the Division of Outreach in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences
- Dr. Larry Merkel, Jr., director of outreach and professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences
- Dr. Perry Bradford, resident physician in the Department of Plastic Surgery
- Jacqueline Carson, a School of Medicine student