Curriculum Vita for Helen M. French RN,BSN
Helen had been an active member of AORN till 2006, the Association of
periOperative Registered Nurses, and since 1974 had served on many district
committees including the Board of Directors and Nominating Committee.
She has served as the National Virginia Legislative Coordinator for
AORN from 2001-2003, President for her AORN District twice as well as serving as
Legislative Chairman since 1991-2006. Helen has received three AORN National
Helen had served as the Virginia Nurses Association's Director
at Large and has held many other VNA positions in the past. As a member
of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, she has also been listed in
their "Media Guides" as an expert in "Hospital Medical
Waste Management", a topic which she has presented at the National
Institute of Health, "Healthcare Without Harm", and EPA conferences.
Helen participated on a Federal EPA Task Force on Medical Waste
Minimization for over three years which culminated in a national MOU i.e.
Memorandum of Understanding. Sigma Theta Tau published her MERCI
article in fall of 2004.
Helen founded and has coordinated the University of Virginia Health
System MERCI Program ( Medical Equipment Recovery of Clean
Inventory ) since August of 1991 to December 2007. The program had captured and
diverted over 500 tons of clean medical supplies ( valued at over 108 million
dollars ) just to missions who then shipped the supplies all over the world.
Over 50,000 pounds of clean medical supplies were diverted to UVA research labs and
to those serving on short mission trips with the UVA School of Medicine,
and to many other groups. Another 500 plus tons of medical supplies and equipment
had been received from donors and 'directly" given to NGO's.
The MERCI program, promotes actions for a cleaner environment,
serves as an educational program for students who have helped sort
supplies, and most importantly, has benefited humanity by aiding the
less fortunate. MERCI was recognized by the State of Virginia House Joint
MERCI Resolution #739 and by a Virginia DEQ ( Department of Environmental Quality )
award. Helen has planted many MERCI "seeds" such as the one in Hershey, Penna
at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and others through meetings
and through emails. Her most recent awards were 2004 Volunteer Award by the UVA School of
Nursing Alumni Association. and a 2006 award from the University of Virginia Health
System Community Service Award for "Extraordinary Dedication and Excellence in
Volunteerism and Health-Related Outreach". MERCI is honored to be included
on The Luminary Project: Nurses Lighting the Way to Environmental Health
The story of Helen's MERCI Program was included in the new edition of the "Chicken Soup for
the Nurse's Soul, Second Dose" book.
As Clinician #3 / staff nurse, at the University of Virginia Health
System, she was a generalist in the Operating Room floating between all
the specialties, Member of the UVA Hazardous Waste Sub-Committee, and
has participated on many perioperative committees at the "U" for over 20 years.
Helen French received her Associate Degree in Nursing from Piedmont
Community College, Charlottesville, Virginia in 1974 and her BSN from
the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia in 1991. She was
nationally certified in perioperative nursing up to 2007.
Helen received on May 08, 2009 the 2009 Distinguished Nurse Award
from the University of Virginia Beta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing
891 Ladd Road
Waynesboro, Va. 22980
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