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Emory professor selected as inaugural recipient of Twilla Haynes Award

By Shumuriel Ratliff | Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Oct. 26, 2021

Assistant Professor Erin Ferranti, MPH, RN, CDCES, FAHA, FPCNA, FAAN.

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Remember Twilla Haynes Dec. 18, 2020

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School of Nursing

ATLANTA – Assistant Professor Erin Ferranti, MPH, RN, CDCES, FAHA, FPCNA, FAAN, is the inaugural recipient of the Twilla Haynes Award. 

This new award recognizes faculty who focus work on vulnerable populations, like those underserved or at risk of serious health problems due to lack of access to care. 

The award is named in honor of Twilla Haynes 80MN, RN, JD, ANP-BC, FAAN, who died in August 2020. She was a nurse practitioner and educator at the school that dedicated her career to teaching in Atlanta and Haiti. She focused her energy and influence on helping those less fortunate, especially children. Over the years, many Emory nursing students traveled to Haiti with her to gain skills and the invaluable experience of an expanded worldview. Haynes, an Emory Medal recipient, also started a foundation and an orphanage in Haiti. Because of her, thousands of people of all ages receive necessary medical care, food, medicine, and the supplies to live a healthier life.

Ferranti is a public health and cardiometabolic nurse researcher and educator. Her research program focuses on identifying the gut microbiome's role. The research also helps develop effective dietary strategies to lessen the cardiometabolic risk in women who experience such complications during pregnancy.

"I am incredibly humbled and honored to be the first recipient of this award," Ferranti said. "This is so special to me because Twilla was so special to me. She was such a shining light and mentor to me when I was 25 years old and serving as the Assistant Chief Nurse at the Department of Public Health. I was a total deer in headlights, and she was so kind, nurturing, and such a role model for compassionate public health nursing care."   

"Nursing is much more than knowing medical facts and procedures," added Dean Linda McCauley, PhD., RN, FAAN. "As a nurse, you are the patient's advocate and a resource for families. You must care for the vulnerable. As such, you have an opportunity to work for social change personally. In other words, you must be like Twilla."  

It's that legacy of dedication and compassion Ferranti hopes to carry on.   

"I have always looked to emulate her," she said. "I was always in awe of her. As I make my way to my office, her framed picture with the twinkle in her eye greets me and reminds me to try to be like her."  

Haynes is survived by her daughters, Emory faculty members Associate Professor Hope Haynes Bussenius DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, and Assistant Professor Angela Haynes Ferere, DNP, FNP-BC, MPH. 

"I have been heartbroken with her passing," Ferranti said. "The unfairness of it all—but what a legacy she leaves with Angie and Hope—and I will do all that I can to make you (everyone) proud with this honor… This means so very much to me."

Related article:

Remembering Twilla Haynes | Emory University | Atlanta GA