LITTLE ROCK – Nurses in the COVID-19 Triage Team at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) were honored by the national DAISY Foundation and the California-based HealthImpact nonprofit organization for devising a screening process for patients who are homeless or rely on public transportation.

The UAMS team, along with five individual nurses from across the country, were chosen as the inaugural recipients of the HealthImpact DAISY Nurse Leader Award in Policy. The award was created to honor nurses whose work in policy advances compassionate care that improves the health of populations.

“As our teams worked to create drive-thru screening sites to test for COVID-19 during the pandemic, it was this team of nurses who recognized the need to improve outreach and access to vulnerable populations who could not drive up to the screening sites,” said Kristie Hadden, Ph.D., interim director of the Office of Population Health, which houses the triage program.

“We’re honored by this recognition for our hardworking nurses, who have been critical to addressing the challenges of this pandemic,” said Trenda Ray, Ph.D., RN, chief nursing officer of UAMS. “This team’s solution is built on caring, which is at the very center of the nursing profession and of our approach to nursing at UAMS.”

The Triage Team approach worked not only to provide screening for walk-up patients at mobile screening sites, but to include consultation services to meet patients’  physical, psychological and social care needs.

The nurses on the COVID Triage Team who designed the screening process were: Deborah Hutts, M.S.N., RN; Rebeca Bryan, RN; and Sherri Traffanstedt, RN.

“Seeing The DAISY Award applied to honor work that advances compassionate care through policy is a thrill we never imagined when we created DAISY 21 years ago,” said Bonnie Barnes, co-founder and CEO of The DAISY Foundation. “The impact of our first recipients in policy is important and sustainable, and it is an honor to launch this very special recognition with our friends at HealthImpact.”

Garrett Chan, Ph.D., APRN, president of HealthImpact added, “We want to congratulate the honorees and thank them for their dedication in advancing compassion in health care through their policy work. Communities and populations of patients have benefited from their tireless efforts in ensuring holistic care.”

About The DAISY Foundation

The DAISY Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, by members of his family.  Barnes died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little-known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.)  The care Barnes and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired the creation of The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nurses, an evidenced-based means of providing nurse recognition and thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

In addition to the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, the Foundation expresses gratitude to the nursing profession internationally in over 4,500 healthcare facilities and schools of nursing with recognition of direct-care nurses, nurse-led teams, nurse leaders, nursing faculty, nursing students, lifetime achievements in nursing and through the J. Patrick Barnes Grants for Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Projects and Medical Mission Grants. More information is available at

About HealthImpact

HealthImpact is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to transforming nursing to advance the health of Californians. Founded in 2001 as the designated state nursing workforce center for California, HealthImpact has a strong and successful history in California and nationally in engaging diverse stakeholders addressing workforce issues, developing solutions and implementing programs through collaborative efforts. Working in partnership with leaders from academic institutions, health care providers that employ RNs, health care associations, funders, policy makers and workforce development boards, the scope of work has included a focused effort on addressing the supply, demand and capability of the current and future nursing workforce. More information is available at