Peggy Gerard, professor and dean of Purdue University Calumet’s College of Nursing and interim vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and provost, recently received the Indiana Hospital Association’s Award of Merit during the IHA's annual meeting at Indianapolis.
Gerard, of Plainfield, Ill., was nominated by JoAnn Birdzell, chief executive officer of St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and a member of the IHA board of directors.
“Peggy is an outstanding leader in health care in Northwest Indiana,” Birdzell said.
Birdzell noted that Gerard developed the Northwest Indiana Patient Safety Coalition, whose vision is to make regional health care among the safest in the nation. One of the coalition’s most noteworthy projects is standardization of color coding for patient wristbands, which began as a student design project at PUC.
“This initiative was approved by the IHA board for the whole state of Indiana, and now all hospitals in the state have color coded bands for patient safety, which is quite an accomplishment,” Birdzell said.
Gerard said she was humbled by the recognition among her health care peers.
“I am proud to work among the finest faculty who guide students in fulfilling their educational goals," Gerard said. "We are pleased to partner with hospitals and clinics throughout the community where our students gain a variety of hands-on experiences.
“Our students not only learn how to use evidence to solve clinical problems, but they learn communication skills, project management, teamwork and collaboration,” Gerard said. “Most importantly, they learn how nursing can improve patient outcomes and also how difficult it is to implement change in complex organizations.”
During her more than 30-year career with PUC, Gerard has served the healthcare industry regionally, statewide and nationally. She has been professor and dean of the College of Nursing at PUC since 2002. She was appointed interim vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and provost in September, a role she also held in 2008.
She currently serves as treasurer and co-chair of the Education Committee for the Indiana Center for Nursing and is on the board of directors for St. Catherine Hospital and Hartsfield Village.
Gerard earned a Ph.D. in nursing from Rush University in Chicago, a master’s degree in medical-surgical nursing from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Rush. She began her career as an intensive care nurse, has conducted research in patient education and health literacy, and maintains her Indiana registered nurse license.