University of Virginia associate professor of nursing Emily Drake will receive the Award of Excellence in Education from the American Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses at the group’s annual convention in June.
Drake, who teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on maternal child health in the School of Nursing and held a clinical position in Labor and Delivery at the U.Va. Medical Center, specializes in high-risk pregnancies, infant development, breastfeeding and technology.
She has served on the American Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses’ national board, is an active member of the nursing honor society Sigma Theta Tau International and is a member of the International Lactation Consultants Association. In addition to teaching, she has been certified as a lactation consultant, an in-patient obstetrics expert and a clinical nurse leader.
Nursing School colleagues Senior Associate Dean Theresa Carroll and Dean Dorrie Fontaine describe Drake as “personally invested in her students,” a “creative and gifted educator” and someone who “challenges, mentors, and, through her teaching coaching and advising, ensures they become the best nurses they hope to be.”
“She is known for her creative teaching, mentorship and lively class discussions,” Carroll wrote in Drake’s nomination letter. “Personally, I always try to hang around her classroom on the day each semester when she dresses up like ‘Polly Postpartum,’ and arrives for class in a bathrobe, curlers, slippers and with a baby tucked in her arms. The ‘Camp OB’ she developed for third-years is legendary too.”
Fontaine, Drake’s other nominator, who called her a “natural leader.”
“She is a bright ray of sunshine in the classroom, where I believe she truly inspires students and others,” Fontaine added. “She has a gift that is somewhat unique: she leads others without ‘taking charge.’ Others frequently follow her because she is headed in the right direction and her way is so clear.”
Drake has twice received both the School of Nursing’s excellence in teaching award and its innovative teaching awards. She also volunteers for the Charlottesville Children, Youth and Family Services, the Virginia March of Dimes, and has been appointed to the State Health Commissioner’s Work Group on Infant Mortality. She was inducted into the local March of Dimes “Volunteer Hall of Fame.”
She has also introduced the U.Va. community to “Lunafest,” a traveling women’s film festival that raises money for our local Postpartum Support Group.
Drake earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from U.Va. and her Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is currently conducting research on postpartum depression.
The American Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses nominates a single nursing educator to receive its award each year, based on nominations from around the country.