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Villanova Nursing doctoral student honored by Hadassah


Pennie Sessler Branden, CNM, MSN, RN of Woodbridge, Conn. has been honored by Hadassah as it celebrates its centennial. The volunteer organization—the largest women’s and Jewish organization in the United States—has identified 100 key Jewish women leaders from its history, including Sessler Branden, a doctoral student at Villanova University College of Nursing. 

Sessler Branden, a certified nurse midwife and assistant professor in the Department of Nursing at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, was surprised by her inclusion. “I am overwhelmed to be honored with 99 other Hadassah Leaders from the last 100 years,” she says, “There have been tens of thousands of leaders in Hadassah who have impacted the world in a variety of ways over the past century. I am grateful to Hadassah and these extraordinary women to be part of this work for healthcare and nursing.”

Sessler Branden has been a member of Hadassah for 20 years. The former president of the Connecticut Region of Hadassah (2004-2007), she has been an elected member to the National Board since 2004, specifically involved with nursing issues since 2007. Hadassah cites her as finding “her niche in Hadassah in the Nurse's Council, where she has left her indelible mark. Her enthusiasm, knowledge and skills of leadership have brought her to be co-chair of the Hadassah National Center for Nurses Councils Advisory Board.”

Sessler Branden notes the advisory board is comprised of nurse leaders, educators and consultants from the U.S. and Israel. “We try to interface with our colleagues in Israel to assist each other to improve nursing and the education of nurses globally,” she explains. Appropriately, her dissertation is titled “The Nurse as Advocate: A Grounded Theory Perspective.” She hopes to defend this summer.