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Office of News & Public Affairs

Connell School Prof. Ann Burgess Named a
'Living Legend' by NEAPNA

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (February 2013) -- Connell School of Nursing Professor Ann Wolbert Burgess, a trailblazer in the study of the impact of trauma and abuse on victims, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Living Legend Award from the New England Chapter of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (NEAPNA).


The NEAPNA Living Legend Award recognizes an individual from the region who has significantly influenced the science and practice of nursing. The award honors those whose professional accomplishments have enabled them to be examples of excellence within the profession and whose work has significantly benefited others, both consumers and practitioners in psychiatric care.

Burgess will receive the award on March 8 at the NEAPNA spring conference where she will deliver a lecture on "Reflections: Pioneering the Assessment and Treatment of Victims of Trauma and Abuse."

Burgess' research and books cover topics such as serial killers and rapists, kidnapping, sexual victimization and exploitation of children, cyber crimes, sexual abuse and elder abuse. She has worked extensively with the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI, training special agents and developing criminal profiles. Burgess also is a sought-after expert in the courtroom, having offered testimony in many high-profile cases.

A pioneer in the field of forensic nursing, Burgess helped to establish a master’s specialty in forensic nursing at the Connell School where she has taught courses such as Case Studies in Forensics, Forensic Science, Forensic Science Lab and Victimology.

Burgess’ work in forensics, victimology and trauma began back in the 1970s when she co-founded one of the first hospital-based crisis counseling programs for rape victims with Sociology Professor Emerita Lynda Lytle Holmstrom. Burgess and Holmstrom wrote a groundbreaking article that ushered the phrase “rape trauma syndrome” into both medical and legal lexicons.

The NEAPNA Living Legend Award is the latest in a long list of honors for Burgess, whose groundbreaking work is internationally recognized. In 2009, the International Association of Forensic Nurses established the Ann Burgess Forensic Nursing Award to honor an individual who has made exceptional research contributions to the field of forensic nursing, through clinical program development, scientific achievement, legislative changes, or educational activities.

--Kathleen Sullivan, Office of News & Public Affairs,