2018 Tillman Scholar
Dana’s passionate belief in “service above self” is the driving force behind her career change to military service. Her father’s untimely death compelled her to begin volunteering as a long term care companion at Lovell FHCC, Great Lakes. A mother of five and business executive, Dana was given the immense opportunity to develop and launch the No Veteran Dies Alone program the following year. Inspired by Veterans she visited and her retired Navy husband, she saw her future, returning to school and commissioning as a Navy Nurse Corps officer.
As an emergency nurse, Dana coached patients and families through their most challenging days. Deployed to Afghanistan, her trauma nursing role was twofold; first to save lives, later to save minds. While stabilizing an injured unit following a VBIED attack, Dana experienced their overwhelming anguish and knew she could make the most significant impact as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
Identifying the acute need for mental health providers, Dana will continue her military service after credentialing as a Nurse Practitioner. Stateside, her focus is on working collaboratively with primary care and specialty clinics to develop holistic approaches aimed at risk identification and mitigation of mental health disorders and substance abuse. Through experience she has identified a critical need for a more robust mental health program in deployed settings and plans to propose a program for more comprehensive services in theater. Dana’s future is to assist service members and their families live healthier and balanced lives.