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Cooney Miner among “Women of Excellence” Honorees

February 21, 2018

Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, founding dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher College, will be honored during the Rochester Business Journal’s Women of Excellence Awards, to be held on Wednesday, April 11.

Dianne Cooney-Miner

Cooney Miner is part of the award program’s inaugural class, joining 33 other high-achieving women, including alumnae Laurie G. Sagona ’79, president, Sundance Marketing LLC; Monica Savino ’82, chief financial officer, The Bonadio Group; Karen Serinis ’76, executive vice president, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust; and Deborah Stamps ’10 (Ed.D.), system vice president, quality, safety and innovation, Rochester Regional Health. The awardees were chosen for their career accomplishments, community involvement, leadership, and sustained commitment to mentoring.

“This year’s Women of Excellence honorees inspire those around them through their actions, words and deeds. They have achieved personal success, but they also contribute to bettering the communities in which they work and live," said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, publisher of the Rochester Business Journal, in a press release announcing the honorees. “Their commitment to mentoring the next generation while also balancing the many facets of their busy lives makes them role models for all. The Rochester Business Journal is honored to recognize their accomplishments.”

A dedicated health care professional and community advocate, Cooney Miner began her nursing career as a staff nurse at Crouse Irving Memorial Hospital in Syracuse, New York, in 1971. A year later, she went to Stuttgart, Germany, to serve in the army as coordinator of the Childbirth Education Program at the 5th General Hospital APO NY, where she would later serve as charge nurse and clinical coordinator of the maternal child health program. During her service, she was also a staff nurse at the Katerina Frauen Klinic. 

Upon returning to the States in 1974, she held several positions as a staff nurse and clinical nurse specialist in Neuroscience Nursing. For many years she traveled every January to Jamaica where she practiced at the Comprehensive Clinic in Kingston and the Isaac Barrant Clinic in St. Thomas Parrish.

In 2003, Cooney Miner became the chair of Fisher’s Department of Nursing, and in 2006, the founding dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing. In recognition of her commitment to advancing Fisher’s work in the community, as well as her leadership in the community, she was appointed associate vice president for community engagement in 2015 – the first to serve in this position at the College.

“Dianne’s name is synonymous with excellence in the nursing profession not only in Rochester, but across New York State and around the globe,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of Fisher, in his letter nominating Cooney Miner for the Award. “She is highly regarded and well-respected in the academic and health care communities and her visionary leadership of the Wegmans School of Nursing has developed it into a top-ranked program nationally.”

She has transformed the undergraduate and graduate offerings at Fisher, overseeing the introduction of several new master’s and doctoral programs and the College’s first fully online program, all of which have earned accreditation from national accrediting bodies. In spring 2017, Fisher’s graduate nursing programs were ranked among the top 200 graduate programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Fisher ranked No. 136 for “Best Nursing Schools - Master’s” and No. 122 for “Best Nursing Schools - Doctor of Nursing Practice” on the 2018 edition of the publication’s “Best Grad Schools” list.

During her tenure as dean, she has secured millions of dollars in grant funding not only for the School and its programs, but for the many community organizations and partners involved with the School. Most recently, under her leadership, the School was given a $1.9 million grant—the largest in the College’s history—from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program.

Her scholarly research has been published in dozens of professional medical journals and health care publications, and she is regularly called upon by local, regional, and national media as an expert in the field of nursing. Her work has not only had an impact locally, but globally as well. She is a strong supporter of School-sponsored clinical missions to provide health care to underserved populations in countries including Peru, Costa Rica, Kenya, and El Salvador. For over 20 years, Cooney Miner has served on a variety of boards in capacities including chair, co-chair, and member. A long time appointee to the NYS Board for Nursing, she serves on the Board of Directors of Rochester Regional Health, The Children’s Agenda, and The Children’s Institute, and as a convener of Roc the Future.

Her list of honors and awards runs long, and includes accolades from her Alma Mater Syracuse University, the New York State Organization of Nurse Executives the Foundation of New York State Nurses, and the American Academy of Nursing. In 2015, she was named a faculty fellow in nursing and midwifery by the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. The highest honor the faculty can bestow upon an individual, the fellowship recognizes outstanding service to the nursing/midwifery profession and significant humanitarian work. This coming March she will be inducted as a faculty scholar by the Waterford Institute of Technology in Waterford, Ireland.

“I am grateful for this honor and recognition, especially with its focus on mentorship. Over my many years in practice and higher education I have often thought about the mentors in my life and how their commitment and interest helped shaped my life and more importantly widened my sense of its possibilities,” Cooney Miner said.

The Women of Excellence awards will be presented during a celebration from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11, at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Winners will be profiled in a magazine that will be inserted into the April 13 issue of the Rochester Business Journal and will be available online.