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Cherokee Health Systems Receives Exemplary Academic-Practice Partnership Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing

May 05, 2022

CHS Media Contact: Brittany McCraw

c: 813-380-1850

Cherokee Health Systems Receives Exemplary Academic-Practice Partnership Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing


November 4, 2021

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is recognizing Cherokee Health Systems’ partnership with The University of Tennessee College of Nursing’s Transforming RN Roles in Community-based Integrated Primary Care (TRIP) program through their 2021 AACN Exemplary Academic-Practice Partnership Award.

The award is given to academic-practice partnerships across the nation that demonstrate positive, measurable outcomes and an innovative, sustained relationship. Cherokee’s nurse manager at the clinic in Seymour, Susan Rowlett, recently accepted the award on behalf of Cherokee during the 2021 AACN Academic Nursing Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

“I’m very honored to represent Cherokee Health Systems who is the Community Practice Partner for the University of Tennessee School of Nursing TRIP Program. This program is an important step in the development of our future RN workforce. Through the program, students work one on one with practicing RNs providing primary care and education to a culturally diverse, rural and an underserved population,” said Rowlett.

According to the University of Tennessee College of Nursing, the TRIP program was formed in 2018 between the College of Nursing and Cherokee Health Systems to train Bachelor of Science in Nursing students to work in primary care with rural and underserved populations and to advance their leadership skills. The program is made possible thanks to a four-year $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

The TRIP program has trained over 50 BSN students and 22 Cherokee registered nurses and nursing faculty and staff. An additional 22 registered nurses and faculty will be trained in spring 2022. In addition, the TRIP program’s principles of community-based integrated primary care have been infused into the traditional BSN curriculum at UT.

“The partnership has truly been a win-win for all of us. Cherokee’s registered nurses and UT nursing faculty have formed collaborative relationships that transformed nursing education and healthcare in our community,” said Sandra Mixer, TRIP project director and associate professor at the college.

Cherokee is the largest Federally Qualified Health Center in the state serving primary care and behavioral health services to 75,000 annually. Out of the 23 clinics in Tennessee, students in the TRIP program can learn valuable nursing skills at the Talbott, 5th Street, Center City, East Knox, Maynardville, New Tazewell, Seymour and Lonsdale clinics.

“I’ve had so many great opportunities to prepare for real-world clinical settings through this program,” said a TRIP student.

To learn more about Cherokee Health Systems, please visit


About Cherokee Health Systems Since 1960, CHS has been committed to ensuring Tennesseans get access to effective, high-quality care. CHS is a Federally Qualified Health Center that serves 75,000 people annually. We offer a wide array of comprehensive health services, including primary care, behavioral health, dental, and pharmacy. All of our services are available to children, adults, and seniors on an ability to pay basis. CHS is a TennCare (Medicaid) and Medicare provider. In addition, CHS accepts commercial insurance for payment.