September 2012—Dr. Jeff Snodgrass was awarded Walden University’s Bernard L. Turner Award for supporting Dr. Vicky D. Woodruff, a 2012 Ph.D. in Health Services alumna and a 2012 recipient of the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award, as her dissertation chair.

Dr. Jeff Snodgrass
Dr. Jeff Snodgrass

Dr. Woodruff’s research proposal immediately grabbed Dr. Snodgrass’ attention. “She and I met at an academic residency in Atlanta,” he says. “Vicky was quite sure what she wanted to do, and she and I were able to have a great initial conversation about the direction she wanted to take.”

Dr. Woodruff wrote her dissertation, Physiologic Capacity as a Predictor of Postoperative Complications and Associated Costs in Three Types of Oncological Surgeries, to show that tests can predict which patients have a high risk for complications after surgery and what kind of complications they may have.

“I guided her as she started to put her prospectus together,” Dr. Snodgrass explains. His goal was to help her bring her research into a narrower and sharper focus to create research questions that could be answered in one study. “I wanted her to articulate her ideas on paper clearly to herself, others, and her committee,” he says.

Not only did Dr. Woodruff’s research inform and inspire Dr. Snodgrass’ personal research, he is also impressed by its reach. “It could extend to national clinical guidelines in time,” he says. His goal is to continue to foster this type of impactful research. “In healthcare and public health, we need to have scholar-practitioners in the field who are generating evidence and implementing evidence-based practice,” he says. “The challenge as a faculty member is to guide students through their studies to blend scholarship and practice.”

Bernard L. Turner Award
This award is bestowed annually upon the faculty chair of the dissertation committee of the recipient of the Harold L. Hodgkinson Award and honors the unique contributions to American higher education of Bernard L. Turner, chairman of the board (emeritus) and founding president of Walden University. An innovator in graduate-level distance education for professionals, Mr. Turner’s lifetime concerns for critical thinking and social change have left an indelible mark on the Walden curriculum. A passionate advocate of educational equality of opportunity and social justice, he made the Walden dream a reality through his persistence and dedication.

Read about past recipients of the Bernard L. Turner Award.