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Madge Buus-Frank Receives 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award

Madge Buus-Frank, DNP, MSN, APRN. Photo by Kurt Wehde

Clinician-scientist Madge Buus-Frank, DNP, MSN, APRN, an instructor in pediatrics and at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice at the Geisel School of Medicine, has received the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN).

The prestigious award recognizes an individual’s longstanding commitment to and profound impact on the field of neonatal nursing. The NANN is a professional society for registered nursing professionals who care for newborn infants with a variety of health challenges. It provides education, advocacy, and support and serves as a leading voice for improving the practice of neonatal care worldwide.

“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by NANN for work that has been propelled by many,” says Buus-Frank, who works as part of a research team at The Dartmouth Institute’s Coproduction Laboratory. She also co-directs the Promise Partnership Learning Health System initiative—a collaboration between Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, Norris Cotton Cancer Center, and The Dartmouth Institute.

“Being part of an amazing team of caregivers here at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, we have had the privilege of learning with and being mentored by many of the leading minds in quality improvement and healthcare delivery science at The Dartmouth Institute,” she says. “These great gifts require us to continue to give back.”

Over her 40-year career, Buus-Frank has been dedicated to the advancement of neonatal nursing and neonatal healthcare services around the world—inspiring clinicians to improve the quality, safety, and value of care for vulnerable infants and their families.

In 1982, she graduated from one of the earliest classes of advance practice nurses (APNs). Buus-Frank became a strong proponent of the role, creating a tool to help evaluate APNs as well as a conference to support the growth of the profession. She served as the founding editor-in-chief of Advances in Neonatal Care for five years and has been a frequent contributor to the NANN—as a member of its board of directors, education council, and faculty for national meetings.

Along with her expertise as a clinician, scholar, and improvement and implementation scientist, Buus-Frank is well-recognized as an innovator in the worldwide community of neonatal care. This was perhaps best demonstrated through her leadership role in the Vermont Oxford Network—one of the largest and most advanced healthcare improvement and data networks in the world.

While there, she designed and delivered large-scale international improvement interventions focused on improving outcomes for infants and families affected by substance use, the safe use of oxygen saturation targeting to avoid complications, and decreasing the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Buus-Frank joined Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in 1990 as one of the first acute care nurse practitioners in the intensive care nursery, where she played a pivotal role in building a hospital-based NNP practice. Today, she remains invigorated by her clinical practice at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth where she has cared for infants and their families for more than 30 years.

An early innovator in family-centered care and shared decision-making, she encouraged teams, locally and globally, to rethink the way that neonatal intensive care units delivered care—focusing on newborn intensive parenting units co-designed to support more nurturing environments.

Buus-Frank has published numerous papers, book chapters, quality improvement toolkits, and virtual video visits to centers of excellence around the world—all focused on the rapid cycle improvement of neonatal care. She has been inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing for her pioneering work in the field of neonatology.