Faculty Spotlight: Madelyn Danner

Social justice and social equity are central to the oath taken by nurses and to Madelyn Danner, they fuel the passion that permeates her nursing and teaching career.

During her time at Harford, Madelyn Danner, Professor of Nursing and Allied Health, has inspired countless nursing students to go beyond what is familiar and use their skills to help those who have less. An example is the study abroad nurse practicum experience. When a student requested to complete her practicum abroad, Madelyn immediately began the research to make it happen. Working with Dr. Stephanie Hallock, coordinator for Global Education and Engagement and professor of political science, she developed a program for practicum completion in Belize, enabling students to practice with compassion in an environment where resources and facilities are limited. Madelyn says her students “. . . came back changed. They thought they knew [what it would be like] but they didn’t.” Ten years later, more than 30 students have participated and this year the program will expand to include a practicum in Narva, Estonia.

The awareness and appreciation gained by students prompted Madeyn to invite them to join her volunteer efforts with Remote Area Medical (RAM®). Students work in a remote clinic in Appalachia with volunteer nurses, doctors, and dentists to provide care for those who would otherwise have none. “They are amazed that people sleep overnight in cars so they can get in line for care. Students can’t believe the poverty and lack of care in the U.S. Their eyes are opened.”

The summer after the Freddie Gray protests students suggested Baltimore as a future RAM® site. They met with the RAM® founder Stan Brock, and wrote letters to U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings and other legislators, sharing their experiences. Madelyn supported them every step of the way and last month, RAM came to the Baltimore Convention Center.

Madelyn takes pride in returning to RAM® each year and seeing former students who have continued to volunteer. For those still at Harford, Madelyn assigns a paper to write: Social Justice and Ethical Issues—Disparities in Healthcare. She wants each of her students to understand a nurse’s duty to impact the direction of healthcare through volunteering, through legislative action, and through everyday practice. She wants them to know they can, and must, make a difference. 

Thanks, Madelyn, for setting the bar high—for your students and for yourself.