Every year during the SON Awards Ceremony the school celebrates donors and outstanding students. In 2021 in a virtual event, we had a chance to honor Barbara M. Mills, DNP, ACNPC, ANPC, PNP, CCRN, PCCN, who has made a donation to the school, and the Mehmood family, who established a scholarship.
Mills earned her masters and doctoral degrees in nursing at Stony Brook. She has spent 45 years in nursing and is now a Clinical Assistant Professor at Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. At the event she expressed her appreciation to all of the current students, adding that she’s just as passionate about her career today as in 1976. She relayed the story of nearly having to drop out of nursing school as a sophomore when her father passed away, and the generosity of a scholarship that let her stay in school and graduate without debt.
That gift was so important to her that she has created that opportunity for a SON student. “One of the things that I feel is more poignant today than in any other time in our lives and in our career is to give back to the School of Nursing. And the way I could offer that service is to not only teach and mentor when I’m given those opportunities, but actually pledge a donation to the school for those undergraduate students that have never had the opportunity or maybe need some financial assistance to make that dream a reality,” she said in a video, adding she chose the undergraduate level because that is what allowed her to be who she is today.
She also encouraged students to one day pay it forward, saying that “no amount is too small or too big to help anybody achieve their goal. Nursing is the future of healthcare in this country. And the more we support each other, the better off this country and health care will be for all of us.”
The Mehmood family spoke through a recording about the scholarship they started this year in memory of their mother, Kim Mehmood, who was a Pediatric ICU Nurse at Stony Brook for many years. She recently passed away from breast cancer. Her daughter Saira Mehmood, MD ‘15, BS ‘10, who completed her undergraduate studies at Stony Brook and went on to complete her medical school training at Stony Brook School of Medicine, said that Stony Brook is a place her family holds very dear to their hearts and they wanted to give back to the community that provided so much for them. Saira added that the care and compassion her mother received from the doctors, nurses and staff throughout her own medical treatment were a great source of comfort for their family through a very difficult time.
Her family, daughters Sabina, Sadia, Saira and Kim’s husband Shahid Mehmood, spoke movingly about how Kim, who they described as a dedicated and compassionate nurse, mother and friend, began her nursing career in the neonatal intensive care unit at New York Hospital and went on to join the leadership team in the pediatric intensive care unit at Stony Brook University Hospital. Sadia said that for over 15 years, her mother loved her work and took pride not only in the care she provided for her patients and their families, but also in the teaching she offered to students along their journey in medicine.
“Both on and off the floor, Kim always put others before herself, fostering an environment of learning, growth and support,” she said. “We have dedicated this scholarship in her memory to honor her legacy, her love for the field of nursing and her unwavering commitment to supporting those around her. We are excited and honored to have created this scholarship fund in hopes to inspire and encourage young nurses as they pursue their career.”