Meet the Nurse Leaders who judged the 2020 Microsoft Health Innovation Awards
Published May 19 2020 09:02 AM 5,032 Views

In 2020, the Microsoft Health Innovation Awards recognized forward-thinking health, wellness, and life sciences solutions that leverage technology to achieve innovative excellence and industry disruption.  

The Official Microsoft Health Innovation Award 2020 categories included: artificial intelligence and machine learningempower care teamsenable personalized careimprove operational outcomesprotect health information; and reimagine healthcare. 


This year, “Year of the Nurse and Midwife,” Microsoft was honored to again host a team of judges including nurse innovation leaders.  All four nurse innovation leaders were part of a broader team that selected the Microsoft Innovation Award winners earlier this year.  We are excited to share their journeys in innovation and nursing with you today and inspire a growth mindset in you.  


Shawna Butler MBA, RN 

There is growing community of clinicians at the vanguard of digital health technologies. Shawna is among those pioneers and one of the nurses encouraging others to join. 


A nurse economist, health tech specialist, and the builder of the global EntrepreNURSE movement, Shawna aims to better position nurses in our health innovation agendas as discovery engines, solution designers, and scale agents. Several years ago, she initiated a global conversation highlighting the rarity of nurses in boardrooms, product design, innovation teams, policy development, tech conferences, and health media. She’s on a mission to change that. 


As the host of See You Now  podcast, Shawna highlights the innovative and human-centered solutions driven by nurses addressing today's most challenging healthcare problems. She’s the managing director of the Exponential Medicine conference working with the pioneers in the thick of integrating robotics, 3D printing, drones, AI, blended reality, voice recognition, digital humans, big data and sensors into our health solutions and lifestyles to improve health, access, experience and outcomes. 


Her various roles have taken her across the world and given her an unusually broad understanding of health systems and a population’s health outcomes and the impact technology and policy have on these dimensions. Shawna understands instinctively the need to work cross-sector and upstream to improve health outcomes and has done so throughout her career by working with city planners, musicians, arts organizations, chefs, farmers, food systems, schools, home builders, philanthropists, investors, inventors, rebels, legends, and anyone with a conviction to improve health and our shared human experience. 


Whende M. Carroll MSN, RN-BC 

Throughout her time in direct patient care, Whende and her fellow nurses experienced a lot of inefficiencies, which directly affected productivity and patient outcomes. A desire to transform practice began early in her nursing career. Whende realized she wanted to move into a non-clinical professional role to impact health and wellness from a different angle. So, she made a career change to quality improvement to make care delivery and processes for clinicians better. When Whende discovered that one could be a nurse and use technology to impact safety and quality and improve efficiencies and decrease waste, to satisfy her loves of nursing, quality, and technology, making a transition into nursing informatics was a logical and exciting choice.   


Whende has taken many risks in her professional career, going from traditional nursing roles that led her into private sector non-profit, health IT vendor, and startup environments. In those settings, she learned about coding, data analytics, and intelligent technologies, and how each could dramatically improve nursing care and operations. That work led her to the discover a lack of understanding by nurses about data and novel technologies–and she saw an opportunity to fill that void. Whende founded Nurse Evolution and edited the textbook Emerging Technologies for Nurses–Implications for Practice to help nurses appreciate how data and nurse-led innovations in health IT can genuinely achieve the Quadruple Aim. Whende encourages nurses to be courageous in their quest for improving clinical processes and the experience of patients and nurses alike. 


Kelly Robke MBA, MS, RN 

Kelly began her nursing career in high-risk obstetrics, where nursing is required to monitor and manage the status of two patients simultaneously: mother and baby. As a labor and delivery nurse, this position provided her with an initial exposure to the driving force of her career: supporting the critical necessity of technology in care delivery. As Kelly’s career progressed, she was able to take her first step away from bedside nursing into another position as a research nurse, where she first gained exposure to the role of industry as a potential employer benefiting from clinician expertise. Being a research nurse also allowed her to gain confidence and competence in working with data, bringing forth another opportunity to progress by taking a position as a project manager for a leading technology solutions manufacturer. While this position still targeted efforts supporting healthcare, its responsibilities were primarily technical. This pivot was the most challenging time of Kelly’s career, and her most valued professional experience. 


Working as a nurse in healthcare technology allows for our unique and compelling perspectives to be incorporated into product and solution offerings provided by our industry partners. Our distinct viewpoints regarding how care occurs and possible improvements that ultimately benefit patients is essential to driving innovation in healthcare delivery”. Kelly encourages any nurse to be open to the opportunities afforded beyond that of traditional bedside nursing as our insights and leadership are critical to driving healthcare transformation. 


Angela Ross DNP, MPH, PMP, PHCNS-BC, LTC (ret) U.S. Army  

Dr. Ross joined University of Texas Health School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) on August 1, 2015, as an assistant professor of biomedical informatics and taught informatics at the UTH School of Nursing, San Antonio, Texas. Her project interests include performance improvement, project management; system implementation; program and project evaluation; and teamwork, and workflow analysis. She is an Informatics Consultant at several health care facilities in the Texas Medical Center and volunteers at Health Care for Homeless Houston where she works on improving IT and workflow processes.  


Dr. Ross served over 20 years in the Army Medical Department and has held positions as a chief medical information officer, acting chief of system service and design, and project manager for the Defense Health Agency (DHA). Earlier in her career as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse, a baby experienced a negative outcome from a medication error. A breakdown in workflow and systems were root causes. The impact of this event was life-changing, which lead her to transitioning to Nursing Informatics with a passion for improving workflow analysis and system implementation. Dr. Ross became a certified project manager and was part of a team that implemented the electronic health record system in nine military treatment facilities in the United States and abroad. At the same time, she started working on her doctorate in nursing. Her focus is applied clinical informatics, and her goal is to teach clinicians and information technology (IT) professionals, improve processes and workflows, and ultimately to impact outcomes. 




Microsoft is proud to dedicate efforts to empowering nurses as they help transform the healthcare industry across the globe. Thank you for everything that you do to support patients and families! 


Molly McCarthy, MBA, RN-BC 

National Director, US Provider Industry and Chief Nursing Officer 



For more information on the 2020 Microsoft Health Innovation Award winners, click here.   

For more information on Microsoft and partner solutions, as well as Microsoft’s Year of the Nurse and Midwife podcast and blog, please visit the Health Geeks podcast  and Microsoft Health page. 


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