CLEVELAND - May L. Wykle, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA, the Marvin E. and Ruth Durr Denekas Professor and the dean of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, will join a distinguished group of peers in July to be inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.
After suffering from discrimination when denied entrance to several nursing schools, Wykle has never forgotten her past but worked towards advancing the future of nursing as a career path for minority students at the school and integrating minority health issues in Case Western Reserve University's research.
In 2007, donors contributed to have a special chair named in her honor, and it is the first endowed chair named for an African American at the university.
Wykle is among 15 exemplars from the field of nursing to receive the honor during the Sigma Theta Tau International's 22nd International Nurse Research Congress, July 14, in Cancun, Mexico.
"My own personal mission is to advance human health across the lifespan," Wykle has said. This has become a professional mission as well.
Wykle served as the 24th president of Sigma Theta Tau International, the nursing profession's honor society. The leadership role is among many honors and accomplishments in her nursing career that spans nearly 60 years.
As a prominent researcher in the field of aging, Wykle is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the Gerontological Society of America. She is among the participants of a 1986 Congress-commissioned study on nursing homes, directed a five-year Robert Wood Johnson Foundation teaching nursing home project, and in 1993 was called to serve on the White House Conference on Aging.
She has been a Pope Eminent Scholar at the Rosalynn Carter Institute of Human Development at Georgia Southwestern State University and later an member of the Institute's board.
After she steps down this month from being dean of the nursing school for the past decade, Wykle plans to return to teaching. Under her leadership, the nursing school has made significant academic strides, established a flight nurse program and post-doctoral program, and developed several international nursing programs.
But her contributions to the field go beyond shaping a new generation of nurses through their education. Her research efforts have impacted the lives of countless patients, who have benefited from her research on geriatric mental health, minority disparities in health care, dementia and family caregiving.
Wykle received recognition with the 2010 American Nurses Associations Mary Mahoney Award, given for significant contributions for the racial integration of the nursing profession.