Shirley Hester

Shirley Hester has spent a lifetime advancing the health of women in Alabama.  One of the state’s first nurse practitioners, she worked with others to start a nurse practitioner program to train rural public health nurses to perform physicals including pap smears.  Mrs. Hester went on to become Clinical Director of the OB/GYN nurse practitioner program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) for a decade until the program moved to the School of Nursing.  Following that transition, she focused her attention on OB/GYN clinics and research.  Her research studies focused on oral contraceptives and the prevention of cervical dysplasia.  She has been actively involved in two large research trials, the ALTS study and the Merk HPV vaccine trials.  The roots for what Shirley would become can be seen in the early days of her career.  After graduating from the Sylacauga Hospital School of Nursing, she worked in the obstetric unit of Westend Hospital.  From there, she moved to Baptist Princeton Medical Center where she was head nurse on the post partum unit.  While at Baptist Princeton, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the UAB School of Nursing.  It was following her move to public health that she received training as a nurse practitioner by working with the residents and attending physicians at the health department.  From there, she went on to develop the curriculum that would train others.  She would later in 1983 complete her own Master’s as an OB/GYN Nurse Clinician at the UAB School of Nursing, long after she had trained many others.  A colleague expressed her contributions well when she said, “I can think of no other person who has done more for the women of Alabama”.