WKU Libraries’ “Kentucky Live!” speaker series event featured Dr. Anne Cockerham at Barnes & Nobles Booksellers, Bowling Green, KY on the evening of March 17, 2016. Dr. Cockerham is Assoc. Dean of Midwifery and Women’s Health at the Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, KY and author of Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World: Stories of Nursing and Midwifery at Kentucky’s Frontier School, 1939-1989 published in 2012 and Unbridled Service: Growing Up and Giving Back as a Frontier Nursing Service Courier, 1928-2010 published in 2014.
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WKU Libraries upcoming Kentucky Live! event features Anne Cockerham, Assoc. Dean of Midwifery and Women’s Health at the Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, KY. Cockerham earned a BS in Nursing from the University of Virginia in 1990 and has since practiced nursing in a variety of settings. In 2001 she received her MS in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland OH, followed by a PhD in Nursing History from the University of Virgina in 2008 with her research on “Nurse-Midwifery and the Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries in Santa Fe, New Mexico”. Cockerham also holds a Certificate in Nurse-Midwifery from Frontier Nursing University (FNU) and has served the university since 2009, first as a Course Coordinator before being promoted to Associate Dean in 2014. In addition to her work with FNU and her nursing practice, Cockerham has written two books on the Frontier Nursing Service. Her first book, Rooted in the Mountains, Reaching to the World: Stories of Nursing and Midwifery at Kentucky’s Frontier School, 1939-1989 which chronicles the adventures of nurse-midwife graduates of FNU, was published in 2012 and her second, Unbridled Service: Growing Up and Giving Back as a Frontier Nursing Service Courier, 1928-2010, was published in 2014 and won the 2015 Kentucky Literary Award.
Cockerham will about the history of the Frontier Nursing Service (FNS). Started in 1925 by Mary Breckinridge (1881-1965), the FNS was headquartered at Wendover in Leslie county, Kentucky as a response to the need for nursing and midwifery services in the rural Appalachian mountains of southeastern Kentucky. The FNS was made up of several clinics and outposts, as well as nurses who would make home visits. In 1928 the FNS began using couriers to deliver communications, assist nurses and supply clinics on horseback through the mountainous terrain, creating an iconic relationship between the FNS and horses. By 1939 Mary Breckinridge established the Frontier Graduate School of Midwifery, the antecedent to the FNU today. Though technology eventually changed the delivery of healthcare in Appalachia, with couriers abandoning horses for jeeps and moving away from home visits towards clinics and hospitals, the FNS’ past work providing medical services to women and families continues today through FNU’s pioneering distance-education program educating thousands of nurses and mid-wives who serve communities across the U.S. and abroad.
Come hear Anne Cockerham’s talk about”Answering the Call: Nurses, Couriers and the Frontier Nursing Service” on Thursday, March 17 at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble. The even is free and open to the public, as well as “swipeable” for WKU students. Door prizes and a book signing will follow, we hope you’ll join us!