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Professor Amy Barton, PhD, RN, FAAN

After two decades, Amy Barton leaves administrative post — and legacy — behind

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Written by Debra Melani on August 20, 2019

During her 22 years as associate dean of Clinical and Community Affairs, Professor Amy Barton spearheaded the creation of the University of Colorado College of Nursing’s clinical enterprise. The string of health centers target everyone from Anschutz Medical Campus students to the Denver area’s most at-risk populations.

Barton also earned numerous prestigious appointments and awards, wrote a long list of scholarly articles and books and netted the university $8.5 million in grants during that time.

It appears she listened to her parents.

Fate and upbringing guide Barton to CU

“My parents were very involved in the community, and I grew up with the ethic that to whom much is given much is expected,” said Barton, PhD, RN, FAAN, one of five children in her family. “My parents also worked hard to send us all through college. Education was very important to them,” said Barton, a native of Toledo, Ohio.

Barton, also the Daniel and Janet Mordecai Endowed Chair in Rural Health Nursing, will step down from her administrative post on Sept. 1. She will remain with CU Nursing in her professorship and endowed chair roles.

Along with her parents, CU Nursing can thank Barton’s husband for her contributions.

After getting married, earning her doctoral degree in nursing and having two children, Barton followed her husband (Professor David Barton of the School of Medicine Department of Immunology and Microbiology) from Florida to the CU medical campus in 1997.

“We moved across the country with a 3-year-old and 6-month-old and started our careers, both as assistant professors,” she said. “I was a spousal hire.”

The right move: New job out west provides perfect fit

As a new CU Nursing faculty member, Barton stepped right into the Clinical and Community Affairs leadership position and “loved” it.

“It provides a real balance between the academic world and the practice world,” Barton said of the position, which CU Nursing Professor Rosario Medina, PhD, FAANP, FNP-BC, ACNP, CNS, will take over. “I have always enjoyed working on projects that impacted patients and made a difference in people’s lives,” Barton said.

Barton’s passion to influence people’s health resulted in:

The Campus Health Center at CU Anschutz. Designed for providing faculty, staff and students with convenient health care, the on-campus clinic offers everything from flu shots and prescription refills to pregnancy tests and behavioral health counseling.

Sheridan Health Services. With two facilities (one focused on family and the other on youth), Sheridan Health Services provides targeted medical and behavioral care in areas with high at-risk populations. A 501(c)(3) federally qualified health center, the clinics are led by CU Nursing faculty who strive for equality in health care.

Belleview Point Clinic. This clinic in southeast Aurora focuses on providing integrated health care emphasizing wellness and prevention with its advanced practice nursing.

The Center for Midwifery. With a number of private practice clinics in the area, this center provides holistic health care through the pregnancy journey. Its branch in Longmont, which serves Weld and Boulder counties, will move to one central Longmont location on Sept. 3.

“I think that we’ve created a successful, sustainable practice here,” Barton said. “One of the hallmarks of success to this is that our providers focus on the needs of their particular communities and figure out how to create and deliver those services.”

Barton does not own the clinical and community enterprise success, saying it took a concerted effort. “It’s about bringing people with different expertise to the table,” she said of her achievements. “It’s recognizing that I don’t have all the answers and knowing how to find them.”

End of one job, new beginning for another

While her move marks a big shift for CU Nursing, Barton’s contributions will continue. Her far-reaching success to the rural corners of the state with the generous donations from the Daniel and Janet Mordecai Foundation are making a big difference in people’s lives.

“Because of you (the foundation), we are able to build and strengthen the rural nursing workforce across the state, bringing care to rural communities where people need it most,” Barton wrote in the foundation’s 2019 Impact Report.

Barton said she will miss the associate dean role. “What I will miss most is working with these amazing people that we have on our team. Our providers are so passionate about the work that they do and really bring their full selves to that work with their patients on a daily basis,” she said.

Yet, Barton remains confident about the future of the enterprise with its many “amazing leaders” and knows the time is right. “I think we are at a point now where the program could benefit from the vision of a new leader,” Barton said. “I’ve taken the train far enough.”