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Dr. Cheryl Schmidt was recently inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in a ceremony conducted in Washington, D.C.
Schmidt's sponsors described her as "a contemporary pioneer in preparation for disasters."
In her role as the national lead and subject matter expert for nursing education for the American Red Cross, Dr. Schmidt led a team of Red Cross colleagues in developing and pilot-testing a web-enhanced course that can be taught in any nursing program to prepare nursing students to serve as volunteers in Red Cross disaster shelters.
The course was inspired by Schmidtâ€™s leadership following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when she prepared nurses to assist in Red Cross shelters after thousands of Gulf Coast residents evacuated to Arkansas.
She followed this by continuing to prepare all of her senior nursing students at the UAMS College of Nursing to serve as Red Cross volunteers.
Schmidt is a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army Reserves Nurse Corps and a veteran of Desert Storm. She has received several previous honors for her volunteer work, including the regional Red Cross Ann Magnussen Award, the Clara Barton Leadership Award, and the 2011 International Committee of the Red Cross Florence Nightingale Medal, which has been given to only four people in the United States and only 39 in the world.
She traveled to New York City on Nov. 21 â€”one week before Hurricane Sandy hit the area â€” to be honored for the Nightingale Medal by the International Nightingale Tribute Program, co-sponsored by the United Nations.
She has also received numerous honors based on her 40-plus years of leadership and service in the American Nurses Association and the National Student Nursesâ€™ Association.
In 2007 she was inducted as one of the first 41 Fellows in the National League for Nursingâ€™s Academy of Nursing Education.
Schmidt has taught community health nursing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Nursing in Little Rock since 1994. She is married to Dr. Michael Schmidt, a general surgeon in Benton.