Project HOPE’s Alumni Association welcomed a new president this past June. Sharon Redding, R.N., Ed.D., CNE, will lead thousands of HOPE’s alumni members over the next four years.
Sharon has a long history with Project HOPE beginning in Brazil in the 1970s, where she taught for six years at the Schools of Nursing in Natal and Maceio. Her most recent HOPE experience was in China as a nurse educator at Wuhan HOPE School of Nursing during the spring semesters of 2014 and 2016. She continues to provide long-distance support to the Chinese nursing faculty.
“I am so pleased that Sharon Redding has replaced me as the Alumni Association president,” says John Wilhelm, M.D., M.P.H., the Alumni Association’s former president. “I have known Sharon since we worked together in Brazil. Sharon is high-energy, creative, involved with a variety of professional nursing associations and has a depth of experience in nursing education. Not only does Sharon bridge the ‘old’ HOPE and the ‘new,’ I believe her continued involvement with HOPE counterparts in both Brazil and China is a model that she will promote with current and new alumni. The model keeps the professional relationships fresh while keeping alumni involved.”
Making a difference
Sharon firmly believes that “Project HOPE can make a difference.”
And through HOPE, Sharon has made a difference. She remembers a particularly rewarding experience she had when a Chinese graduate student approached her about an article for publication related to his thesis research. Although his advisor had suggested he try to get his work published in a Chinese journal, he asked Sharon her opinion on seeking publication in Rehabilitation Nursing, a prestigious American journal that accepts less than one percent of research submissions. After reading his thesis and his proposed article, Sharon agreed to help him as she felt his thesis was outstanding.
“He had chosen a very difficult and current topic on the effect of mindfulness in the recovery of Chinese stroke patients,” recalls Sharon. She mentored him through the rewriting and revision process after his work day as a nurse in a Chinese hospital.
“After ten long evenings, we had the article whipped into shape and I was due to depart for Shanghai, and on to the U.S.,” says Sharon.
Three weeks later, the student received notice that Rehabilitation Nursing had accepted his manuscript, with only a few recommended revisions.
“I was utterly shocked and very excited,” says Sharon. “I could hardly contain my emotions, and immediately sent him a video message of congratulations via the Chinese WeChat messaging system that my Chinese co-workers had downloaded on my cell phone. Even though there was a 13-hour time difference, we carried on a very excited conversation about this almost unheard-of accomplishment for a Chinese student. It was a powerful moment for both of us.”
Another memorable event for Sharon happened when she was in Maceio, Brazil in 1980. She and fellow HOPE nurse Agatha Lowe assisted in the delivery of a baby born to Julie, a Project HOPE nutritionist from Natal who was in labor while visiting Agatha. Fortunately, Sharon’s most recent nursing position, prior to joining Project HOPE, had been as a nurse in a labor and delivery unit.
“The maternity clinic (in Maceio) had no on-site medical or nursing staff, only attendants,” recalls Sharon. “Agatha and I hustled Julie into the clinic, and she climbed upon the cart, and I started my assessment. It was obvious that Julie was going to give birth, so Agatha and I pushed the cart into the delivery area and searched for the needed supplies. Not only did we have to reassure Julie that we could do this, but we had to explain in Portuguese, to the attendants, that there was no American doctor, just us. Within a couple of minutes, Julie delivered her baby, my labor and delivery skills kicked in and all went well. Agatha and I noted the time of birth, and kept good notes on the event. We got Julie settled into a bed in the clinic, then notified the HOPE program director and administrator to tell them that they needed to resolve the hospital bill and passport for a newborn American.”
We had to explain in Portuguese, to the attendants, that there was
no American doctor, just us. Within a couple of minutes,
Julie delivered her baby, my labor and delivery skills kicked in
and all went well.
As president of the Alumni Association, one of Sharon’s long-term plans includes working with Project HOPE’s leadership and staff in promoting more active involvement of former and recent HOPE volunteer health professionals in an ongoing relationships with program sites and host-country staff.
Dr. Redding is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Nursing. She has a master’s degree from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a doctorate in adult education from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. She has been involved in various international health care programs as a nurse educator and retired as an Associate Professor of Nursing.
Get news from the field and updates on how your donations are being put to work.
Read and share stories about Project HOPE with your personal network.