by Laura Dillard
OAC Steering Committee member Renee Menkens is a dedicated educator, community health advocate, and now a nationally honored nurse leader. Ms. Menkens is one of 10 recipients of the Culture of Health: Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing award from the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. This award is a joint effort of AARP, the AARP Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to recognize nurse leaders who have developed innovative approaches to improving health. As part of her award, Ms. Menkens will be attending five-day training course with the Center for Creative Leadership. Ms. Menkens says this honor has been “quite unexpected,” but she is excited to gain new insights from the leadership course and apply them in her work as a nurse and educator.
Ms. Menkens received an associate’s degree from Southwestern Oregon Community College and bachelor’s degree from Southern Oregon State College. She earned a masters degree in Community Health Care Systems and a Post Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education from OHSU School of Nursing. Ms. Menkens knew she wanted to be a nurse educator early in her career, and now serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor at Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing in the online RN-to-BS program. As a long-time Coos Bay resident, Ms. Menkens is dedicated to improving the health of her community and representing the rural perspective. She serves on numerous boards and continues to practice as an on-call staff nurse in the Behavioral Health Unit of the local hospital.