Four Health Professions Faculty Receive Coveted Awards from Professional Groups


ATLANTA – Four faculty members in Mercer University's College of Health Professions were recently recognized for their outstanding work in their fields. They include:

Nannette Turner, Ph.D., M.P.H., chair and associate professor in the Department of Public Health, recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Educator/ Researcher Award from the Georgia Rural Health Association (GRHA);
David Taylor, PT, D.P.T., GCS, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, recipient of the 2014 Lynn Phillippi Advocacy for Older Adults Award from the Section on Geriatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association;
Niamh Tunney, PT, D.P.T., clinical assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, recipient of the 2013 Achievement in Education Award from the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia (PTAG);
Deborah Wendland, PT, D.P.T., Ph.D., CPed, assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, recipient of the 2013 Merit Award from PTAG.

Dr. Turner received the award from GRHA at its January awards luncheon in Savannah. The award is bestowed on an individual whose research or teaching has made the most significant contribution of the year, or whose sustained history of teaching and educating over a period of time is deemed to be the major contribution of the year.

“The Georgia Rural Health Association is the oldest rural health association in the country,” Dr. Turner said. “I am proud to be associated with it. I know the hard work that goes into being an advocate for rural communities in Georgia, and Mercer has a heart for rural communities.”

Dr. Taylor, a lifelong advocate for older adults and their care, was the perfect fit for the APTA's Lynn Phillippi award that recognizes an individual who is a role model for advocacy for older adults and who challenges and changes ageism.

“I've been an advocate for older adults my whole career,” said Dr. Taylor, who accepted the award this month at the APTA convention in Las Vegas. “The care of older adults through my profession is my passion, and it's nice to be recognized for that.”

Dr. Tunney was nominated by the department's faculty and students for her exceptional commitment to student learning and growth. Her innovative teaching techniques and the unique learning environment she presents to students are consistently lauded. For that, she earned the award that goes to an exceptional Georgia physical therapist educator whose work has not only made a significant impact on the quality of physical therapy education, but has also advanced the profession.

“It was a great honor to receive the award and to be recognized by my peers in our professional association,” Dr. Tunney said.

Dr. Wendland received the Merit Award, which recognizes a Georgia physical therapist for exceptional service and achievement within the physical therapy community.

“I am honored to receive this award,” Dr. Wendland said. “I am privileged and grateful that I am able to serve the underserved in Atlanta.”

About the College of Health Professions

Mercer University's College of Health Professions is part of the Mercer Health Sciences Center and is comprised of three departments: Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, and Public Health. The College offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) degree, and master's degrees in physician assistant studies (M.M.Sc.) and public health (M.P.H.). In addition to its degree offerings, the College offers post-professional residencies and fellowships. With an overall enrollment of more than 350 students, the College seeks to improve the health and quality of life of individuals and society through excellence in teaching, research, and service. For more information about the College, please visit