Dr. Jeanette VanderMeer
Jeanette VanderMeer’s career of more than four decades exemplifies a lifetime commitment to improving the condition of rural Alabamians. A graduate of Druid City Hospital School of Nursing, she began her career at DCH’s emergency room. After receiving her BSN from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and her MSN from the University of Colorado, she returned to the state to develop an emergency medical services system for a 13 county area in North Alabama. As a rural home care nurse and later as a faculty member she continued to be a rural health advocate. With her DSN in Community Health nursing from UAB, Dr. VanderMeer believed that additional educational opportunities for rural nurses would improve health care in rural areas. As RN Mobility Coordinator at the Capstone, she sought partnerships with the state’s community colleges to make it easier for Associate Degree RNs to continue their education and was instrumental in moving all courses for RNs to an on line format. Always politically active, she served on the Health Policy Board and the Governmental Affairs Committee of the National Rural Health Association and the Government Relations Committee of the Alabama State Nurses’ Association. She still serves on the Commission on Professional Issues today. Believing that nurses could and should impact the legislative process, she ran for a seat in the Alabama House of Representatives. Although not elected, she came to the attention of Governor Riley who appointed her to the Governor’s Task Force on Rural Health and Co-chair of the West Alabama Rural Action Commission. Quick to share that she grew up in Eutaw, Alabama, Dr. VanderMeer has spent a lifetime “walking the talk” and encouraging others to do the same.