JOPLIN, Mo. (Nov. 8, 2023) – Kristin Stovern, Mercy Joplin advanced practice nurse specializing in women’s health and obstetrical care, has been selected as one of two finalists in March of Dimes’ annual “Heroes in Action” program, which celebrates nurses and maternal and infant health providers in 15 different categories.
Stovern, who has been a pioneer in advanced practice for women’s health and nurse-midwifery for Southwest Missouri and the surrounding region for 24 years, is one of only two finalists chosen from 400 nominees nationwide in the category of “Innovation in Maternal Child Health Clinical Advancement.”
As a finalist, she has been invited to an awards banquet on Nov. 11 in St. Louis, where the winner will be announced.
“I’m incredibly honored by this recognition,” Stovern said. “I wouldn’t have done this work for almost a quarter-century if it wasn’t one of my biggest passions in life. My top priority is improving the lives of all women, helping them leave a legacy of better health and empowering them to lead a life of wellness and be heard as self-advocates.”
Stovern is completing a nursing doctorate in Leadership and Education from Pittsburg State University. She earned a master's from Vanderbilt University, a bachelor’s from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s in nursing from Rockhurst University. She joined Mercy in early 2020, along with her longtime colleague, collaborator and friend, Dr. Cheryl Fogarty.
Due to her persistent lobbying, Stovern has been integral in starting the first collaborative care model between nurse midwives and physicians in the area, with the goal to improve outcomes and access and remove barriers to care. Stovern was selected as a Fellow in the American College of Nurse-Midwives in 2021 due to her contributions to clinical excellence, pioneering, education, leadership and research. She is on the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health Task Force for core competencies, serves multiple philanthropic initiatives and is a staunch voice for the underserved.
She has been a consultant, speaker and activist in efforts to improve health care for all women on a state and national level.
“The impact Kristin’s practice has had on our community is truly too great to be calculated,” said Kerri Williams, Mercy Joplin’s executive director of operations, including women’s health. “We’re just so proud that she’s a part of Mercy, and we know this recognition is the result of her long track record of providing excellent care for women through every stage of their lives.”
Mercy, one of the 20 largest U.S. health systems and named the top large system in the U.S. for excellent patient experience by NRC Health, serves millions annually with nationally recognized quality care and one of the nation’s largest Accountable Care Organizations. Mercy is a highly integrated, multi-state health care system including more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, convenient and urgent care locations, imaging centers and pharmacies. Mercy has 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, more than 4,000 physicians and advanced practitioners, and more than 45,000 co-workers serving patients and families across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.