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Gillette Nurse Receives WIND Award from UW

October 2, 2009

Rose Rennell, a registered nurse at Campbell County Memorial Hospital in Gillette, is the recipient of an award that enhances the lives of people with disabilities.

She will receive WIND's (Wyoming INstitute for Disabilities) Keith A. Miller -- A Force Fighting for People with Disabilities Award Oct. 8 in Casper during the 20th annual MEGA conference.

MEGA, the state's largest disability conference, covers a variety of topics related to disabilities such as advocacy, best practices and other critical issues. Many agencies participate in the conference, coordinated by the Governor's Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Part of the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences since 1994, WIND provides teaching, research, information and community services to UW and the state. It is a member of the national network of University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service.

WIND's primary mission is to assist individuals with developmental and other disabilities and their families achieve their desired quality of life by promoting and supporting full community inclusion, community membership, independence, productivity and social participation, says William E. MacLean, WIND executive director on the UW campus.

Rennell is Campbell County Memorial Hospital's employee health nurse. She is being honored for her contributions to a program that promotes light or alternative duty to help injured employees return to productive work as soon as possible, says co-worker Susan Howard who nominated Rennell for the award.

"Rose is truly a person who goes the extra mile as a volunteer through the Wyoming Independent Living and Resources group," Howard says. "Rose is a role model in this area; she is a paraplegic and one of very few nurses across the country who is working full-time in a wheel chair."

A certified occupational health nurse, Rennell worked on her associate's degree at Gillette College and completed both her BSN and M.S. degrees at UW. She drove to the UW campus in Laramie one weekend a month for her graduate studies, completing her M.S. degree thesis on early return to work programs following injuries.

"The model of that program, based on her research, is used at Campbell County Memorial Hospital today. Rose has been a role model and an advocate for people in Wyoming who are living and working with disabilities," Howard says. "My work with Rose has enlightened me about many issues that adults and children with disabilities face. Working with Rose has also highlighted, over and over again, the abilities of these hard working and highly productive citizens."

Rennell has served on many local and state organizations.

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