2023 AWARD WINNERS
Alice’s introduction includes many “firsts.” She was the first Advanced Practice Provider to become a Medical Director at a Duke practice; and the first Access Champion for the Department of OB-GYN. Then, she became the Medical Director for all outpatient OB-GYN Clinics, where she championed to have the lead time decreased from 17 days to 14 days. She served on the Board of Directors for Durham County Project Access. Another first – she was hired as the Medical Director for the newly-created Access Services within the Private Diagnostic Clinic, where her unique idea of “Duke Today” allows patients to receive same-day appointments in many specialties. But, first and foremost, Alice is caring: she speaks from the heart, gives genuine hugs and is truly “present” to everyone.
Alice continuously keeps patient safety at the center of each decision she makes. Without hesitation, she advocates what is right for patients, providers, and frontline staff, even when it may not be the “popular” opinion. Her belief and practice reflect her commitment to equitable health care to all, by minimizing health disparities amongst groups of people who are proportionally disadvantaged. She represents what our organization and community stand for, without blemish.
This nominee shows integrity every day in her interactions with her team members and patients. One specific example I am thinking of involves her standing up for and looking out for high-risk pregnant women. When leadership wanted to understand some of the barriers they faced when regarding food insecurity, they thought of interviewing the high-risk OB moms. She recognized that those conversations and situations are hard and uncomfortable for the patients. Instead, she offered another solution: to connect Pregnancy Care Managers (who interact with these moms on a regular biases) with leadership to talk about the hardships, instead of putting the burden on the patients. In general, it’s important to get the patient’s perspective and opinion, but not at the cost of the patient.
This nominee’s career spans more than three decades at Duke Health. She has a thriving GYN practice, with dedicated patients who would follow her to any location. She treats each patient as if they are a dear friend, with a genuinely kind greeting and a warm embrace. She was the first APP to become a Medical Director at a Duke practice. Through her hard work and dedication, she rose through the ranks to become the first Access Champion for the Department of OB-GYN, shortly followed by becoming the Medical Director for all outpatient OB-GYN clinics. While in this role she championed to have the lead time decreased from 17 days to 14 days. She served the local community in her role on the Board of Directors for Durham County Project Access. She was hired as the newly created Medical Director for Access Services for the PDC, where her unique idea of “Duke Today” allows patients to receive same-day appointments in many specialties. Her main goal — no matter what department/division/clinic is to ensure all patients receive the highest care possible.
If you were to google, “attributes of an amazing nurse,” the following results appear: Caring, Empathetic, Strong Communication Skills, Attention to Detail, Problem Solving Skills, Stamina, Sense of Humor, Commitment to Patient Advocacy. Each of these characteristics, plus being a champion for cultural change defines Alice Cooper. Driving improvement and leading change is a key component of my role within the health system and PDC. If I ever need to ground a group or team of people to the mission of caring for our patients, their loved ones and each other, to ensure that the right decisions are made with the right focus, I know I can depend on Alice. We call her the Culture Queen because she helps everyone center around what matters the most — our patients and a culture that is centered around delivering care to meet our patients’ diverse needs.
She was the first medical director for the first model area at the PDC, and now drives advancements in Duke Health’s first Engagement Center. The Engagement Center started a new model of care to have an APP embedded within the center to take care of patients who needed access to care before they could get to their provider visit. This has helped keep these at-risk patients out of our compressed EDs, so Duke Health can provide excellent care overall.
Alice is the epitome of what makes Duke, Duke. Daily she exemplifies respect, sense of community and excellence in all that she endures. Alice has been instrumental in the growth and expansion of access services for the Department of OB-GYN and the Private Diagnostic Clinic as a whole. She operates with the utmost respect and integrity and is committed to providing the highest quality patient care possible.
She is a teacher, a caregiver, a leader, and a friend to all she meets. Her energy and perspective are contagious, which means that Duke is a better place after every interaction Alice has with our teams and our patients. She is a teacher, a caregiver, a leader, and a friend to all she meets.
I have had the honor and privilege of working with Alice both as a frontline staff member and as a Health Center Administrator over the last few years. I have seen her volunteer her time providing exams to underserved minority communities. I have seen her first-hand mentor and develop multiple cohorts of Duke Medical and PA students, staff, and fellow providers who have chosen to pursue careers at Duke Health because of the impact she had on them. She lives, breathes, and believes wholeheartedly that Duke Values are a way of life.
I have witnessed her make house calls to patients who were not physically able to get out of their home, when their only alternative was to take an ambulance to the ER. I have seen her volunteer her time providing exams to underserved minority communities.
Every time I see her in the hallway, she takes the time to give you a hug, asks you how you are doing, and is present with you. She follows through for what is needed from her, and keeps everyone informed. She is always a ray of hope and continues to make everyone around her feel like they are a part of something truly important.
She remains humble and committed to everyone she comes in contact with, touching base with a hug and listening to early experiences, and reassuring that my early fears were not based in reality. Through her compassion and leadership, she is committed to growing others to be successful as well as maintaining busy leadership post.
She understands the challenges today’s patients face, and she works tirelessly to provide resources and guidance for local leadership in each clinic. She is a pioneer of APP leadership. In conclusion, she is the epitome of nursing: friend, caregiver, mentor.
Duke Perinatal Consultants of Durham
Vice Chair, Ambulatory Services
Private Diagnostic Clinic
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Duke University School of Medicine
Medical Director, Access Services
Medical Director, Patient Engagement Center