2017 Tillman Scholar

Kim Shaughnessy

Villanova University
DNP, Health Systems Leadership

“Our servicewomen and veterans deserve the best healthcare we can offer them.”

Growing up in a small town outside of Boston, Kim watched her parents, a career firefighter and a nurse, devote their lives to helping others. Inspired by their example, Kim attended Villanova University on an ROTC scholarship and was subsequently commissioned as a Navy Nurse. Dedicated to service, she spent her collegiate years volunteering as an EMT with a local fire department, then began her career working in the ICU of a major military medical center. As an ICU nurse, and later an obstetric nurse, she recognized disparities in health outcomes among vulnerable military women and veterans, the risk of which has grown through 16 years of war. She felt called to focus on the healthcare needs of these women, ultimately becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife.

In 2011, while she was stationed in Okinawa, the Great East Japan Earthquake unleashed a savage tsunami. A thousand miles south of the epicenter, Kim’s mettle was tested as she and her team successfully managed 100 pregnant evacuees and family members; coordinating their care, delivering their babies, and facilitating their return to the United States. “There was so much devastation, sadness, and fear,” said Kim. “Being able to ease the burden and anxiety for these military families who experienced this tragedy was one of the proudest moments of my career.”

Still on active duty, Kim is pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice, planning to utilize this, along with her expertise in women’s health, to effect change in women’s health policy in order to improve services and reduce disparities across the military, and through partnerships with the Veterans’ Administration.