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Health commissioner to speak at pinning ceremony

The Austin Peay State University School of Nursing will conduct a pinning ceremony at 2 p.m., Thursday, May 1 in the Music/Mass Communication Building Concert Hall.

The ceremony, open to the public, will feature guest speaker Susan R. Cooper, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health.

In addition to the pinning, the program also will include several student award presentations.
The Austin Peay State University School of Nursing will conduct a pinning ceremony at 2 p.m., Thursday, May 1 in the Music/Mass Communication Building Concert Hall.

The ceremony, open to the public, will feature guest speaker Susan R. Cooper, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health.

In addition to the pinning, the program also will include several student award presentations.

Cooper, a registered nurse, made state history in early 2007 when she became the first nurse to serve as commissioner of the state health department. In September 2005, at the request of Gov. Phil Bredesen, Cooper began serving as special policy and health adviser and was instrumental in developing Tennessee's Health Care Safety Net.

Cooper later assumed leadership of Project Diabetes, a program Bredesen created to curb the type II diabetes threat facing the younger population. She also helped to facilitate GetFitTN, part of Bredesen's campaign to promote healthier lifestyles and habits among Tennesseans.

Before joining state government, Cooper was a faculty member and assistant dean at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, where she received both her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing. She is pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Kentucky.

Cooper's career background includes vulnerable populations, program planning and evaluation, health policy, health care regulation and evidence-based practice. Her career experience also includes work as a nurse specializing in emergency and intensive care.

For more information about the pinning ceremony, contact Dr. Francisca Farrar, director of the APSU School of Nursing, by telephone at (931) 221-6317 or by e-mail at farrarf@apsu.edu. -- Melony A. Jones