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Award for Nursing Practice
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North Carolina Native Nurse Receives National Association's Excellence Award

Dr. Clifton Kenon Accepts AWHONN Award for Nursing Practice


NEWS RELEASE: June 16, 2014

CONTACT: Kelly Mack 202-296-2002


Washington, DC - The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) presented the 2014 Award of Excellence in Practice to Clifton Kenon, Jr., DNP, RN, IBCLC, RLC, for his excellence in clinical practice and continued innovation in the delivery of care for women and newborns. The award was presented at the AWHONN national convention in Orlando, Florida.

AWHONN presents its Award of Excellence in Practice each year to an AWHONN member with outstanding clinical expertise, dedication to promoting a professional image of nursing through practice, and contributions in their area of practice that have national or international significance.

Dr. Kenon recently accepted a new position with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a Health Scientist in the Office of Population and Reproductive Health. Before that, he served as the Director of Maternal and Child Health in the Great Plains Area of the Indian Health Service (IHS). In that position, he worked throughout North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska serving the needs of American Indian and Alaska Native women. His work resulted in removal of barriers to and expanded access to contraception, innovative breast cancer screening programs, and creation of models that promoted, protected, and supported breastfeeding among Native women. He was the founding chair of the first National Nurse Residency Program to train new nurses to the specialty of obstetrical nursing in resource constrained settings.

"Dr. Kenon's contributions to increasing access to evidence-based nursing care have profoundly impacted the lives of women and their families," said AWHONN's Chief Executive Officer Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN. "His work to remove barriers and reduce disparities among American Indians is admirable."

Dr. Kenon, a lactation consultant and avid breastfeeding supporter, led the first hospitals within the IHS to become Baby Friendly, as well as the first and only hospitals within the state of North and South Dakota. For his leadership in the area of breastfeeding, he was recognized by Michelle Obama's "Let's Move Initiative," and was invited to speak at the White House in 2012. He has been recognized by the Surgeon General of the United States, as well as the former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for his outstanding contributions to the health of women and infants in the United States. In 2013, he took home the top national award at IHS, the Reyes Award, making him the first nurse and the youngest person ever to receive this honor.

Dr. Kenon earned a doctorate of nursing practice from Chatham University of Pittsburgh, a master's degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a bachelor's degree in nursing from Winston-Salem State University. Dr. Kenon is currently pursuing a second doctoral degree at the University of Tennessee.



The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is the foremost nursing authority that advances the health care of women and newborns through advocacy, research and the creation of high quality, evidence-based standards of care.

AWHONN represents the interests of the more than 350,000 nurses who care for women (throughout their lifespan) and newborns. The membership of AWHONN is at a 15-year high and growing at 24,000.

AWHONN's members are clinicians, educators and executives who serve as patient care advocates focusing on the needs of women and infants. A leader in professional development, AWHONN holds the distinction of receiving the Premier Program award by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for innovation and excellence in Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) three times.

Founded in 1969 as the Nurses Association of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the association became a separate nonprofit organization called the Association of Women's Health and Neonatal Nurses in 1993.

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Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

AWHONN is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #CEP580. Accredited status does not imply endorsement by AWHONN or the American Nurses Credentialing Center of any commercial products displayed or discussed in conjunction with educational activities.

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