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Excellence in Laser Nursing/Allied Health Award

Nominations for the 2024 honorary awards are closed. 

This award was established in 1991 to recognize outstanding nursing and allied health contributions to ASLMS and the advancement of joint practice in laser medicine and surgery. It is given in recognition of candidates who have promoted laser medicine through demonstrated expertise, consistent professional conduct, and exceptional standards of practice.

This award may be given to ASLMS members only. The award recipient will receive a plaque and $1,000 at the Annual Conference and will be required to present a lecture at the conference.

The candidate must meet at least two of the following five criteria in order to be considered for this award:

  1. Three years membership in ASLMS, Nursing/Allied Health Division
  2. Presentation of abstract, eposter or case study at ASLMS Annual Conference
  3. Served as an elected or appointed position in Nursing/Allied Health Division
  4. Attained ASLMS “Fellow” status
  5. Served as faculty for CE approved laser training courses, designed for nurses and/or allied health professionals; and has published an article/articles on laser medicine, the clinical application of laser technology, and administrative components of laser use in the clinical setting, laser research, or other laser related topics

No award will be granted to any person if the award would be contrary to any United States law, including but not limited to trade embargoes administered by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.


2023 Recipient


Renee Edkins, DNP, NP-C, CMLSO

Past Recipients

2022 - Yan Duan, FNP
2021 - Kathy Keys, RN
2020 - Mary L. Nielsen, LPN, LE
2019 - Rebecca Sprague, RN, NP-C
2018 - John E. Hoopman, AAS, CMLSO
2017 - Laura McDermott, BIS, LE, MA
2016 - Mary Lisa Stoll, RN, BS
2015 - No Nominations Submitted 
2014 - Patricia A. Owens, RN, MHA, CMLSO
2013 - Laurie C. Grizzard, RN, BSN
2012 - Holly Bryan, BS, CCRC
2011 - Faye M. Jenkins, RN, BSN
2010 - Krystie P. Lennox, PA-C
2009 - Sue Terry, RN, CMLSO
2008 - Sharon K. Olson, RN, CNOR, CMLSO
2007 - Jeff T. Counters, MPH
2006 - Rebecca Sprague, RN, FNP-C
2005 - Judy Chamberlain, RN
2004 - Deirdre A. O'Hare, RN
2003 - Donna Gabriel, LPN
2002 - Mary Flor, RN
2001 - Susan L. Olson, RN
2000 - Dale P. Goodwin, RN
1999 - Patricia A. Owens, RN
1998 - Kay Ball, RN
1997 - Pat Durgin, RN
1996 - Vangie Paschall, RN
1995 - Mary Cayton, RN
1994 - Patricia A. Hartwig, RN
1993 - Penny J. Smalley, RN
1992 - Carolyn J. Mackety, RN
1991 - Sue E. Huether, RN

  • Q&A with Renee Edkins

    Congratulations on receiving the Excellence in Laser Nursing/Allied Health Award this year. Please comment on receiving the award and what it means to you.
    Health care is a challenging field both mentally and physically. I have responded to disasters, made it through COVID, and been present at births and deaths. But building the Laser Program for Burn Reconstruction at UNC has been one of my most rewarding activities. It has been both a challenge and a joy. To be recognized for this work means a great deal to me as a provider. To be recognized by my peers at ASLMS makes this award even more meaningful.

    You will be delivering your award presentation, " Changing Lives," at the Awards Brunch on Sunday, April 16. Can you share some highlights of your talk?
    Burn Reconstruction is a diverse field that includes multiple players, such as surgeons, therapists, pharmacists, and other specialists. With the advent of laser therapy, the remodeling of scar tissue has become a central tenant of reconstruction. Many patients who would have historically required large tissue rearrangements to deal with contractures and scar tissue now require smaller focused surgical releases after laser therapy. In many instances, surgery can even be entirely avoided. Significant issues with neuropathic pain and pruritus in scar tissue can be eliminated with laser therapy, and the medications required to manage these symptoms discontinued. Honestly, after many years in this practice, I still find myself being wowed by the effect of laser therapy on scar tissue.

    Please share highlights of your background that have contributed to who you are today.
    Having been in nursing for 43 years I have worked in multiple environments including pharmaceutical research, genetics, critical and emergency care, medical practices and surgical practices in both large and small hospitals. All of this adds to my perspective on the care I provide to my patients. Just as patients are the sum of their experiences, so too are we as providers.

    How has your involvement in ASLMS contributed to your career? Why should young researchers become involved with ASLMS?
    ASLMS is an amazing organization that is dedicated to education and practice. Whenever I am mentoring practitioners on the use and practice of laser therapy, one of the first things I do is recommend they join ASLMS. One of my most successful patient cases (again changing lives) involved a young woman with significant chronic radiation-induced telangiectasia r/t breast cancer. All she wanted was to be able to wear a v-neck shirt without people constantly asking her what was wrong with her skin. I had just finished reading the paper by Dr. Rossi (2018) and his team in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine on the effect of PDL on the quality of life of those with radiation-induced breast telangiectasias and discussed this approach with the patient. She was willing to give it a try, and after only a couple of treatments, she was again happily wearing v-neck shirts – mission accomplished! This one small success was due to the research efforts by Dr. Rossi and his team, the publication in our journal, and the translation to bedside practice by a provider. This is why young researchers should become involved in ASLMS. Research drives practice, and practice produces more questions for research.

    Tell us something our members may not know about you.
    I love to read sci-fi novels, and I leveled my sorceress to 90 in Diablo II but have taken a break waiting for Diablo IV to drop. 


The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Inc. is the world’s largest scientific organization dedicated to promoting research, education and high standards of clinical care in the field of medical laser applications. It provides a forum for the exchange of scientific information and participation in communicating the latest developments in laser medicine and surgery to clinicians, research investigators, government and regulatory agencies, and the public.

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