2002 - Alumni Award Recipients

2002 Alumni Award for Excellence in Nursing
Karen Starr, M.S.N., R.N., C.S., M.S.A.C
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Ms. Karen Starr earned her master’s degree in psychiatric-mental health nursing from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in 1983. Currently, she is the senior associate in psychiatry for the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, Division of Addiction Medicine. She has devoted her career as an advanced practice nurse to treating and educating individuals and families dealing with the disease of addiction, as well as the community about addiction treatment.

Karen holds national certifications as a Master Addiction Counselor by NAADAC and a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing by ANCC. She has authored more than 20 publications, made over 100 regional and national presentations and been active in national and international training conferences in her field. She is recognized as an expert in the treatment of addictions at the local, national and international levels.

In addition to her active clinical practice, leadership contributions on many boards and agency consultations, Karen generously shares her time and expertise with current nursing school students providing guest lectures in almost every specialty annually on assessment, diagnosis and treatment of addictions. She has been a clinical supervisor for the past 10 years to psych/mental health nursing students at the school and has encouraged and mentored scores of co-workers to pursue their career goals in nursing.

Karen also serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, Reserves. She was recently assigned as the Chief Nurse for this unit and has provided more than 20 years of leadership in a variety of assignments following her active duty service from 1978-1982.Her expertise as an addiction specialist and trainer have been well utilized in her military assignments.

It is through Karen’s dedicated clinical practice, teaching and leadership roles locally, regionally and nationally, that she has demonstrated her expertise and her commitment to the nursing profession.

2002 Alumni Award for Clinical Achievement in Nursing
Jacquelyn McMillian-Bohler, M.S.N., C.N.M.


Ms. Jacqui McMillian-Bohler earned her master’s degree in nurse-midwifery from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in 1997. She holds dual clinical and academic appointments at the nursing school as a Certified Nurse Midwife with the Vanderbilt Nurse-Midwifery Faculty Practice.  She recently received the Nurse-Midwifery faculty award through the American College of Nurses for her role in the education and guidance of Vanderbilt nursing students.

Jacqui has dedicated much of her time to educating youth, especially young girls, about reproductive health and the clinical necessities that coincide with women’s health issues. She has worked with communities in North and South Carolina, as well as in Tennessee, presenting to youth on a number of subjects related to sex education and general health. Her commitment to youth education is evident in her many presentations regarding nursing as a profession and of the importance of nursing to the public on every level.

Multiculturalism is an important part of her role as a nurse. Because she is fluent in Spanish, her clinical work extends to a sector of the community that is sorely overlooked by health care in many instances. She is an advocate for diversity in nursing, which has allowed her to work extensively with multicultural communities.

Jacqui has built an outstanding reputation by taking a personal interest in each of her patients. Her passion for improving clinical care and outcomes make her a true leader among nurse midwives.


2002 President’s Award of Distinction
John Michael Briley, B.S., M.S.N., A.P.N.


John Michael Briley received his master’s degree in nursing from Vanderbilt University in 1994 having earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Freed-Hardeman University in 1991. He currently is in active practice in Jackson, Tennessee as a Family Nurse Practitioner and served as the director of Family Practice Services for TransSouth Healthcare, P.C.

In addition to his professional responsibilities, Briley also accepted a second two-year appointment to the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Regional Advisory Council. He served on the First South Bank Advisory Board as well as the board of directors for the master’s curriculum at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee. He has served on the Tennessee Nurse Practice Act Task Force for the past three years in an attempt to streamline the language of the Practice Act.

The role of advocate has always been and continues to remain paramount among his responsibilities both in the U.S. as well as in Egypt. He has spearheaded seven expeditions to Cairo and the surrounding provinces to administer needed immunizations and primary health care services to these underserved populations. He has also mentored numerous students and provided preceptorship opportunities for advanced practice nursing candidates over the years.

Briley feels that his role in the community is very important. His practice is in direct proximity to his high school alma mater, which affords him vast opportunities for educating about the role of the advanced practice nurse to high school students, as well as the chance to fulfill the health care needs of many local citizens.


2002 Friend of Nursing
Lewis Lefkowitz, Jr., M.D.


Dr. Lewis Lefkowitz joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University as assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine in 1965.  Today he continues to play a vital role in the life of the medical center and is professor emeritus of preventive medicine. Dr. Lefkowitz’s interests range from epidemiology and prevention of infectious diseases to community medicine and primary health services.

Working alongside family nurse practitioners since 1974, he was the initial preceptor and on site physician at the nursing school’s Vine Hill Community Clinic, established as a service and training site for the Vanderbilt FNC program to serve the residents and neighbors of a public housing area.

He served, from 1988 to 2001, as principal investigator for the Tennessee unit of the Active Bacterial Core surveillance group, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based at Vanderbilt. 1n 1998, at the invitation of the Ministry of Health for the Republic of Vietnam, he served as a panelist and consultant at a conference on community and environmental health in Hanoi. 

Dr. Lefkowitz has spent his career fostering students’ interests in community issues, employing the required and elective curriculum and supporting students from all over Vanderbilt, especially the School of Nursing.  His support of the nursing profession is immeasurable. 


2002 Honorary Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Alumnus

Bonnie Pilon, D.S.N., C.N.A.A., C.M.A.C, F.A.A.N.

Dr. Pilon is professor and senior associate dean for practice at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She is responsible for all activities related to the practice mission of the school, which includes oversight of 19 different practice sites. The school operates an independent nurse practitioner primary care clinic serving more than 8,000 patients annually. Additional satellite sites serve elementary schools, domestic violence shelters and congregate living high rise apartment buildings for frail elderly. On campus, there is an active midwifery practice as well as several collaborative practices with School of Medicine faculty.

Dr. Pilon has also served Vanderbilt in other capacities. From 1989 until 1995, she was program director for the graduate Nursing Administration specialty where she introduced the first quality improvement course at the university and integrated case management content into the curriculum. From 1995 until 1997, she served as chief nursing officer at Saint Thomas Hospital, an affiliate tertiary care center in Nashville.

As a consultant, Dr. Pilon has assisted institutions with development of clinical integration strategies and tools, redesign of organizational structure to optimize quality and efficiency, JACHO preparation, outcome measurement and management and design/redesign of clinical pathway and case and disease management systems. She is a frequent speaker and has published articles and book chapters in these areas.