Cooney Miner Recognized for Lifetime Achievement in Health Care

February 21, 2020

The Rochester Business Journal will honor Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, founding dean of the Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher College, with the Lifetime Achievement Award during its annual Health Care Heroes 2020 Awards Ceremony in March.

Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner

The event, to be held on Thursday, March 19, recognizes organizations and individuals who have made a significant impact on the quality of health care in Rochester. The program’s Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual whose lifetime career of advancing health care has included mentoring, compassion, honor, and integrity. Cooney Miner is the inaugural recipient of the award.

Also being honored at the ceremony are alumni Selma Mujezinovic ’16 (DNP) in the medical profession category and Colin Scantlin ’98 in the mental health category.

In spring 2019, Cooney Miner will retire from the deanship to assume full-time her director role for the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing, housed in the Wegmans School of Nursing at Fisher. The Institute was created thanks to a $5.8 million gift, $5 million from Tom Golisano and $800,000 from the Golisano Foundation, and is designed to transform the health care and support of individuals with developmental disabilities.

The Institute is the first of its kind, and will have local, national, and international impact, including a collaborative partnership with the Waterford Institute of Technology in Waterford, Ireland.

“The establishment of this Institute is groundbreaking in relation to the future care and support of people with developmental disabilities in the United States and foregrounds Rochester as a significant national leader in this field of health care training and provision,” wrote Dr. John Wells, head of the School of Health Sciences at WIT, in a letter of support for Cooney Miner’s nomination. “Dr. Cooney Miner is an innovative thinker and leader in her chosen field of nursing education and practice. She is greatly admired here in Waterford and is a marvelous ambassador for both St. John Fisher College and the City of Rochester.”

Her retirement as dean follows a long, illustrious career, which began as a staff nurse at Crouse Irving Memorial Hospital in Syracuse, New York, and included work in Stuttgart, Germany. While in Germany, she served in the army as coordinator and faculty member in the Childbirth Education Program at the 5th General Hospital APO NY, where she would later serve as charge nurse and clinical coordinator.  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.

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. 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. 

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. 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 New York State 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 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. She was also inducted as a faculty scholar by the Waterford Institute of Technology in 2018.

“Dr. Cooney Miner’s résumé defines a lifetime of achievement,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of the College. “Her impact on the education of the Fisher Nurse has been wide, and her imprint on the health care landscape far wider.”