Apr 5, 2007    #052
Contact: Noemi Rojas
(816) 235-1520

UMKC honors alumna for devotion to women’s healthcare

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) has selected Joyce Townser, R.N., to receive the 2006 Alumni Achievement Award under the banner of the UMKC School of Nursing.

She will receive the award at the Alumni Association‘s dinner and program to be held at 5:30 p.m. April 19, 2007 in the Swinney Recreation Center, 5030 Holmes, on the UMKC campus.

Each year, one alumnus from each of the university’s 12 academic units is selected to receive the Alumni Achievement Award for their notable professional success and outstanding community service.

Townser is a member of the Kansas City Black Nurses Association, a 1996 graduate of the UMKC School of Nursing, and has worked in public health administration overseeing women’s health for 10 years. She is also a survivor of domestic violence.

Townser has created avenues for abused women throughout Kansas City to find resources. She has partnered with UMKC’s Women’s Center in 2003 to put on a domestic violence awareness workshop. In 2005, she again joined forces with the Women’s Center for their Red Dress Tea, which focuses on women’s heart health. Most recently, in 2006, Townser helped sponsor the Women’s Center’s Inaugural Black Women Leadership Conference.

Apart from UMKC, Townser spearheaded a four-state conference in 1999 that sought to increase awareness that domestic violence is a public health issue. As a result of the conference, protection orders are recognized within the four-state area, eliminating the need for women to reapply. She also created a domestic violence card, sized to fit in a woman’s pocketbook, listing the resources and steps for leaving a dangerous domestic situation. The cards are still available to the public.

It’s easy to see that Townser’s work extends beyond Kansas City, especially when you talk about her position within the U.S. Department of Health Human Services (DHHS). She is coordinator for Region VII of the Office on Women’s Health, which covers Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska.

Research is another area at UMKC that Townser has influenced. She was indispensable to both the UMKC School of Nursing and School of Medicine as they sought and obtained funding for the DHHS National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, the only Center in a four-state region and one of only 21 such centers nationwide. She remains involved as an advocate, making recommendations to improve community collaborations aimed at minority and underserved women.

“Joyce Townser is an alumnus that the UMKC community, especially the School of Nursing, can be proud to list as a graduate,” said Jacki S. Witt, J.D., a women’s health nurse practitioner, clinical associate professor with the School of Nursing, and co-chair of the clinical services subcommittee for the UMKC/TMC National Center of Excellence in Women's Health.

Townser grew up in the inner-city of Kansas City with eight siblings and attended public schools. She is the first nurse in her family.

UMKC is one of four University of Missouri campuses. It is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health and life sciences, and urban affairs.


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